Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 35, September 1991

By Gordon Mathieson

This article is the final of three in a series of profiles on Headmasters and Principals of Paeroa D.H.S. and College. It continues the profiles from 1958, and should be read in conjunction with the previous two articles in Journals 33 and 34.[Journal 33: ; Journal 34: Headmasters of Paeroa District High School 1912-1957 - E]


(First principal 1958 - 1960) William Lance McLean, Paeroa College's first Principal after its translation from a District High School, was born in Timaru on January 11, 1913. At Timaru South School and Musselburgh School, Dunedin he received his primary education. From 1927 to 1931 he attended Otago Boys' High School becoming a prefect there, and represented the school in the Rugby First XV, Cricket First XI and Lifesaving.

From there, he went to the University of Otago, and Christchurch Teachers' College, graduating M A and Dip Ed. His early teaching career was in primary school - at Paerau and Naseby (Central Otago), Dunedin Normal and Kakapuaka (near Balclutha). In Balclutha he taught at South Otago High School, commencing a Secondary teaching career in a wide range if subjects.

In 1952 he was promoted to First Assistant at Te Kuiti High School, and at Paeroa in 1958 he gained his first Principal's position.

When Paeroa College opened in February 1958 with a roll of 255, additional buildings were planned to accommodate the expected roll increase and wider subject variety (Library, Science Block, Administration, Engineering and Clothing/Homecraft rooms) These were constructed during 1959 - 60.

Mr McLean was involved in the local community while he was here, including the Drama Club, Rotary and many sports. His wife, Mrs Maisie McLean, taught Homecraft and their daughter, Janice was a pupil during their time here.

The College was officially opened on 11 June 1959 and the first Board of Governors was formed, chaired by the late Mr Norman Collinge.

The McLeans were accorded a public farewell in the War Memorial Hall on 2 December, 1960.

Mr McLean's next appointment was to Feilding Agricultural High School as Headmaster - a position he held from 1961 until 1967. His health declined during this period, but he was appointed Headmaster of Christchurch's Linwood High School. Sadly, Mr McLean died before taking up the position - on 14 January, 1968, aged 55 years.

Mrs McLean moved to Timaru afterwards.In1984, she attended Paeroa College's 25th Jubilee, and was a member of the official party.

Mrs McLean died on 21 November, 1990.


(Second Principal 1961-1964)

Harold William Boon Webber was born on 5 June, 1912 at Warkworth, attending Whangarei Primary and Whangarei Boys' High School until 1930 for his education. He followed this with 3 years at Auckland Teachers' Training College and the University of Auckland, gaining his B A Degree.

In 1934, Mr Webber commenced teaching at the Napier Street School, Auckland, (where D W Dunlop had once taught) and the next year he was at Whangarei Primary for a year. His next 2 appointments were to Poverty Bay - Waikohu 1936 and Wigan 1937, both sole charge.

Changing to secondary teaching, he was appointed to Tolaga Bay D.H.S., 55 km north of Gisborne in 1938, but 18 months later, moved to Foxton D.H.S., teaching Maths and Science. World War II intervened then, andMr Webber volunteered for service with the RNZAF, instructing Army, Air and Navy radio intakes in Maths and Radio Physics at Harewood and Wigram Air Bases from 1941 until he was discharged in 1944.

Mr Webber's first post-war position was at Warkworth D.H.S., 1945 - 46, then Whangarei Boys' H.S. (1947 - 1959), again teaching Maths and Science. One year's leave (1957) saw him as H.O.D. (Head of Department) Maths at Cranbrook School (Sydney, N.S.W.). In 1960 he became foundation Deputy-Principal at Kamo High School, 5 km north of Whangarei.

At Paeroa College, Mr Webber gained his first Principal's position, commencing in 1961. By this time the College was becoming well established as an independent secondary school with a rapidly increasing roll which reached 350 in the early 1960s.

The provision of an Assembly Hall was a highlight of Mr Webber's time here. In extramural activities, Mr Webber was a Chairman of the Paeroa Community and Arts Council; a member of Rotary including its President in 1964, and with his wife, Marjorie, helped to found the Paeroa Bridge Club. Initially Bridge games were played at the College before acquiring their own building in Wood Street (formerly the Band Hall).

In 1965 Mr Webber became foundation Principal of the Otumoetai College in Tauranga, retiring in December 1970. Mr and Mrs Webber have remained in Tauranga, continuing to take an active role in community affairs. They had 3 children: Robyn (deceased 1980), David and Susan, and have 8 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Mr and Mrs Webber attended Paeroa College's 25th Jubilee in 1984.


(Third Principal 1965 - 1969)

Gisborne was the birthplace of Robert Twaddle, on 12 July, 1924. He attended Primary School at Ormond (20 km N W of Gisborne) 1929 - 32; Hihitahi (south of Waiouru) 1932 - 33 and Woodville 1933 - 36. At Palmerston North Boys' High School he commenced his secondary education (1937 - 38) but changed to Wellington College in 1939. He was a prefect in his last year there -1941.

From 1942 to 1945 Mr Twaddle attended Victoria University graduating with a B A, and in 1946 he gained M A (Hons), in English. He also gained a John Tinline Scholarship from the University of New Zealand at Otago. At Auckland Teachers' College he gained his Teacher's Certificate.

Mr Twaddle's first appointment was to Wanganui Technical College, teaching English, French, Science, Maths and Geography (1947 - 1952). His next move was to Palmerston North Boys' H.S. in 1953 as H.O.D. French, but transferred to Freyberg High School, Palmerston North as a member of the foundation staff when it opened in 1955. There he was H.O.D. English, French and Social Studies at various times; in charge of the Library, School Magazine and Drama. By 1959 he was Acting First Assistant, being permanently appointed to this position in 1961. Also in 1961, Mr Twaddle was involved as a part-time lecturer in French during Term One, setting up a new course at Massey University pending the appointment of a permanent full-time lecturer.

Mr Twaddle was appointed Principal of Paeroa College from 1965, and immediately took an active role in community affairs, being involved with the Paeroa Community and Arts Council (as had Mr Webber before him); Paeroa Road Safety Committee, of which he was foundation Chairman; Paeroa District Scout Committee; Athletic Club and Rotary. However Bob Twaddle will be best remembered for his infectious enthusiasm in securing the Gymnasium. The "Whirlwind" Queen Carnival of April 1968 stands out as a highlight in raising funds for the Gym (so-named because of the "Wahine" storm at the same time), of which construction started late in 1969.

The school roll exceeded 400 in the late 1960s, with an extensive building programme being undertaken - refurbishing of 1940 D.H.S. block, construction of 4 room "F" block, a technical drawing room and an additional Science Lab, plus the Gym itself.

From 1970 Mr Twaddle was inaugural Principal of Taradale High School, Hawkes Bay until he retired in December 1984. Mr Twaddle returned to officially open the Gymnasium on 19 October, 1970. Four of his children attended Paeroa College during their time here: John, Margaret, Judith and Lynne.

Mrs Nancy Twaddle died in 1985. Mr Twaddle still lives in Taradale.


(Fourth Principal 1970 - 1982)

Elderslie, a short distance from Paisley, near Glasgow, Scotland was the birthplace of Ian Stevenson Kerr, on 1 March, 1923. The family emigrated to New Zealand 3 months later, settling in Auckland.

"Scotty" Kerr, as he was known, attended Gladstone Primary School in Mt Albert, then Mt Albert Grammar from 1937 until 1940. Among his teachers there was Mr Herbert Towers - of an early Paeroa family. (A tribute appearedinJournal No 33.)

Mr Kerr attended the University of Auckland and gained his B Sc Degree in 1943. In the latter stage of World War II (1944 - 45) he served with the RNZAF as a pilot.

Following demobilization, he joined the State Forest Service as a timber surveyor, but in 1947 attended Auckland Teacher's College, graduating as a science teacher.

In 1948 he joined the staff of Wanganui Technical College, being a contemporary of Bob Twaddle in his early years there. He remained at Wanganui until 1966 - 19 years service, then was appointed Deputy Principal at Whakatane High School from 1967 until 1969. At Paeroa College, Mr Kerr became Principal in February 1970 just as the school became equipped with its full quota of buildings.

The school roll continued its upwards rise, peaking at 550 during 1977 - 78, reflecting the apex of the "baby-boom" of the early 1960s, but showed a slow decline thereafter.

Once the major building programme was completed, little further building took place until 1977 when 3 extra rooms were added (another science lab, a senior studies and a general classroom). In 1978 the staffroom was extended, the music room converted into a lecture/projection room and 2 more classrooms added. The Library was expanded to twice its original area in 1980. During the disastrous flood that inundated the district in April 1981, the College was closed for 8 days.

Mr Kerr retired in December 1982, but remained in Paeroa. He was Master of Ceremonies and Chairman of the 25th Jubilee Committee in 1984.

A lifetime ambition to sail around the South Pacific Ocean in a yacht was realised during the winter of 1989. Upon return to Great Barrier Island, Mr Kerr died suddenly, on 4 August, 1989, aged 66 years. He is survived by his wife,MrsNoeline Kerr.

Two children attended Paeroa College in the early 1970s - Barry and Julie, there are 6 grandchildren. The eldest son, Stephen, remained in Whakatane.

Paeroa College Staff 1973

Paeroa College Staff 1973

Principals of Paeroa College
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 35, September 1991
Paeroa College Staff 1973

Paeroa College Staff 1973

Back row (Left to Right)


Mr D A Gray, Adv. Trade Cert, Higher Tech. Teachers' Cert

Metalwork, Tech Drawing.

Mr N J Doull, M Sc

Head of Science Dept

Mr J E Pullan, Dip Phys Ed

Physical Education, Biology

Mr K E Fox, B A. Dip Ed

Head of English Dept

Mr R D Thompson, Dip F A

Head of Art Dept

Mr V J Weissing, BA

Head of Social Studies Dept

Mr S F Scher, B Sc

Head of Mathematics Dept

Mr D S Prosser, B A


Centre row

Mrs R M Bath


Miss D C Taylor, Home Econ. Cert

Home Economics, Clothing

Mrs G R Morran


Mr C E O'Connell

Science, Biology, Careers Adv.

Mr G C Jarvis, B A


Mr W W Ritchie, Woodwork Cert

Woodwork, Tech Drawing

Mr I R Burlace, M A

English, French

Mrs A Garber, B A

French, English, Careers Adv.

Mrs B E McGillivray

Social Studies, History

Front row

Mrs J A McLeod, Maths, Science Certificates

Maths, Science, Biology

Mrs S Morrison

Maths, Music

Mrs G M Fox

Remedial Reading

Mr C S Borrie, M A

Deputy Principal

Mr I S Kerr, B Sc


Mrs M Jones. Dip Journ.

Senior Mistress

Mrs H F Rackham

Principal's Secretary

Miss K M Nicol, B A. Dip Comm


Mrs R Godwin

Staff Secretary


Mr O'Connell first taught at Paeroa Central School 1969 - 71 as First Assistant: then to the College 1972 - 79. From 1980 he has been at Whangarei Boys' H S.

Mr Thompson ended 17 year's association with the College in 1973. Since 1974 he has been at Otumoetai College, Tauranga. Mr Ritchie had been the longest serving staff member to this point. He taught from 1949 - 74 (26 years service).

All 3 photographs are courtesy of Mrs Grace Morran. Mrs Morran was connected with the College from 1958 - 74, firstly as clerical assistant 1958 -60, Relief in the Commercial Dept. in 1961, Acting Senior Asst. Mistress 1962 -65, then as Typing teacher 1966 - 74. Mrs Morran (nee Milroy) lives at Mackaytown.

Also see staff photographs of 1961 and 1965 on the following pages.

Paeroa College Staff 1961

Paeroa College Staff 1961

Principals of Paeroa College
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 35, September 1991
Paeroa College Staff 1961


Back row (Left to Right)


Mr R N Nelson, M Sc

Maths, Science

Mr W J Joyce, M A

Geography. Social Studies

Mr R A Walls

Metalwork. Technical Drawing

Mr G Pinnock


Mr F A Saunders

English, Social Studies

Centre Row

Mr R D Thompson, Dip F A

Art, Careers Adviser

Miss J W Brocket

English, Social Studies (relief)

Mrs N K Nelson

Homecraft, Clothing

Mrs G R Morran


Miss R M Miller, B A

Geography, Maths

Miss J Crimmins

Maths, Science

Front row

Mr T J Loney, M A

Head of English Department

Mr A H Hutchinson, M A

Head of Science Department

Mr J J Jensen, B A. Dip Ed

First Assistant

Mr H W B Webber, B A


Mrs C S Peacocke, M A

Senior Assistant Mistress

Mr C F Peacocke, B A

Head of French and Maths Depts.

Mr W W Ritchie, Woodwork Cert

Woodwork, Technical Drawing


Miss Brocket taught at Paeroa Central School from 1958 until 1987.

Mr Jensen was the longest serving staff member to this point. He started in May 1938, and retired in 1964. Served in World War II 1942 - 45. Died 15 December, 1979 aged 72.

Mr Loney was at Paeroa 1958 - 63; Papakura High School 1963 - 68, then Principal of Thames High School 1968 - 1982.

Mr and Mrs Peacocke moved to Rotorua 1962. Mr Peacocke to Western Heights H S - Deputy Principal 1962 - 75. Mrs Peacocke to Rotorua Girls' H S. Headmistress 1967 - 84. Mr Peacocke came to Paeroa D H S in May 1950 from Kawakawa D H S. Northland.

Paeroa College Staff 1965

Paeroa College Staff 1965

Principals of Paeroa College
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 35, September 1991
Paeroa College Staff 1965


Back Row (Left to Right)


Mrs R M Bath


Mr J M Crawford, M A

English, French, Social Studies

Mrs J M Lind

Clerical Assistant

Mr R D Thompson, Dip F A


Miss J Crimmins

Biology, Science, Maths

Mr J E Pullan

Phys Ed, Biology

Centre Row

Mr F J Chell, B Sc

Science, Maths

Mrs Z Gilligan


Mr W J Joyce. M A

Geography, Social Studies

Mrs N S Climie

Remedial Reading, Relief

Mr R A Walls

Metalwork, Tech Drawing

Miss L Mansfield

Clothing, Homecraft

Mr W W Ritchie

Woodwork, Tech Drawing

Front Row

Mr C B Rowe, M A

Head of Social Studies Dept

Mr W G Potter

Bookkeeping, Commercial Practice

Mr C S Borrie. M A

Head of Maths Dept, First Asst.

Mr R B Twaddle, M A


Mrs G R Morran

Acting Senior Asst. Mistress

Mr G F Paton, M A

Head of English Dept

Mr N J Doull. M Sc

Head of Science Dept


Mr Pullan and Miss Mansfield were married in 1969.

Mrs Climie, Patron of the Paeroa Historical Society, was awarded the B E M (British Empire Medal) in 1970. Taughtat Paeroa College 1965 - 67.

Mr Rowe died suddenly 10 January 1966 aged 33.

Mr Potter transferred to Spotswood College, New Plymouth (1967 - 74), after 2 years at Paeroa 1965 - 66, as Head of Commercial Depts at both schools.

Mr Borrie was First Asst. (title later changed to Deputy Principal) 1965 - 81 as well as Head of Maths Dept. 1965 - 72. Died 9 April 1987.

Mr Walls was at Paeroa 1960 - 65. transferred to Otumoetai College, Tauranga.