Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 49, September 2005

By Gordon Mathieson

The well-publicised illness and subsequent death from motor-neurone disease of thirty-nine year old Andrew Morris in March this year, has prompted me to complete this article about this well respected and talented family.

For forty-five years Geo Morris & Son Ltd, Men's and Boys Outfitters was an essential part of the retailing sector of Paeroa, beginning in 1953 when Andrew's grandfather, George Morris purchased W E (Bill) Tubman's menswear business on Belmont Road. Already previously employed in the retail of menswear in Thames and Hamilton, George Morris brought to Paeroa considerable expertise in this field, and his son, Garry, joined him in this business venture in 1955.

A keen rugby player, Garry joined the Paeroa Old Boys' Rugby Football Club and was to represent Thames Valley from 1955 until 1963 in fifty-six matches. He was selected as a North Island triallist in 1958, and as an All Black Triallist the following year, such was his ability. No doubt the highlight of that era, was his selection for the combined Bay of Plenty - Thames Valley team that was only narrowly defeated by the British Lions touring team, 26 - 24, at Rotorua in 1959.

Garry married Barbara Holmes of Cambridge in 1964, and they had one son and one daughter, Andrew and Kelly. Garry and Barbara were fully involved in their children's activities, serving on the Miller Avenue School Parent Teachers Association and Committee, while Garry was on the Paeroa College Board of Governors from 1979 to 1987.

A separate tribute for Andrew Morris's secondary school years appears at the end of this article.

Kelly was a pupil at Paeroa College from 1982 until 1986 and her achievements included:-

Member of the 3A netball team which won the Shaw Cup; First in Form 3M, 1982

Gained Umpire's Certificate and Bar to Bronze Medallion in Life Saving, 1983

Member of School Council; won the TEMCO Award for excellence in Science; 3rd in Intermediate Girls' Cross Country; member of netball Senior 'A' Team; School Certificate in five subjects, 1984

First in Form 6 (including 1st in Biology and 1st in English); Deputy Head Girl, Member netball Senior 'A' 1985

Head Girl 1986

Third in Form 7; 1st in Biology

Altogether, a talented all-round family.

George Morris retired in 1966 and Garry became Manager until ill health compelled him to step down. The business is still operating as D& D Clothing Ltd.

George died on 4 March 1978, aged seventy-two and his wife, Mavis, died on 23 August 1998, aged ninety-three. Garry's ill health resulted in his death on 20 August 1999. The fortitude displayed at this time was characteristic of the family. The following lines shall suffice:

"Fly, fly precious one

Your endless journey has begun

Take your gentle happiness

Far too beautiful for this life."

A gentleman who bore his illness with much courage and dignity

"Rest peacefully now

Your soul is free

Be on your way

On beyond the hands of time

Where only angels sing

Go now, find the light."

George MORRIS 1905 - 1978

Garry Owen Mouland MORRIS 1935 - 1999

Andrew Mouland MORRIS 1965 - 2005

"I am

I always have been

I always will be."

(Compiled with assistance from Mrs Barbara Morris.)


Saturday, 12 March 2005

It is my great honour and privilege to convey to you all, some of the more memorable aspects of Andrew's secondary school years.

No doubt he would have attended for primary manual classes for woodwork in his form one year (1977) and for metalwork in form two, when the teachers for these subjects would have been Mr Malcolm Craill and David Gray respectively.

It was on 31st January 1979 - twenty-six years ago that the 13-year-old Andrew Morris, along with all the other third form intake of that year, attended for the start of their secondary education at Paeroa College, having been a pupil of Miller Avenue School 1970 - 1978.

Andrew was drafted in to Form 3M, his form teacher being Mr Peter McNeil. Even at this stage of his college days, Andrew's prowess at rugby saw him appointed captain of the under 45kg team, which won eleven of its twelve matches, the team ably coached by Mr David Tuson.

In his second year - 1980, he played in the under 57kg rugby team, which won fifteen of its sixteen matches. Andrew, along with Ross Walmsley and Graham Parlane were selected for Thames Valley Rep. Teams. His Form 4M form teacher was Mrs Morrison.

But it was during Andrew's 5th Form year - 1981, that he really began to shine. Going in to Form 5H, with Mrs Pam Chubb as form teacher, he was to achieve fourth equal in Form 5 (equal with Shaun Craill), and was first in Accounting. 1981 of course, was School Certificate year, passing English, Science, Geography, Book-keeping and Maths.

A place on the School Council assured Andrew's role in a leadership capacity.

The First XV rugby team of that year was the most promising yet in its endeavours to win back the Coulter Cup for Paeroa College, something it hadn't had since its joint victory with Waihi College, away back in 1967. And Andrew was a part of that team, which included such illuminaries as Robert Dix, Charlie Parsons, Stephen Ritchie, Shane Hooker, Paul and Denis Treanor, Robert Dickson, Wilton Wickliffe, Stu Tukerangi and Jason Hazelwood, among others. Coached by Brian Swindail and "the two Garrys", Garry Hazelwood and Garry Morris - Andrew's father - the First XV provided Paeroa with its great chance of taking the illustrious Coulter Cup for the following year. Andrew's other activities saw involvement in athletics, badminton, squash, swimming and life saving.

Entering Form 6J with Mr Gary Jarvis as form teacher in 1982, Andrew served again on the School Council and academically achieved his best year yet, ending the year first in Form 6, with first equal in Maths, along with Rachel Baxter.

He passed University Entrance in five subjects (English, Biology, Maths, Chemistry and Physics) and, of course, 6th Form Certificate. The prediction that Paeroa College would win back the Coulter Cup for 1982 came true, it having been fifteen years since the Cup held pride of place in the trophy display area.

In terms of academic endeavour, Andrew just got better each year. For his last year at College, his 7th Form year, 1983, he took out the Rose Doran Cup for Science; the Stresscrete Award for excellence in Science and Maths; was first in Biology and first in Chemistry. In addition to these he was Chairman of the Executive Council.

As regards the First XV, Andrew played his third season for them, the coaches being the same as the previous years - "the two Garrys". The Coulter Cup remained in Paeroa for a part of 1983, shared jointly with Te Aroha. Andrew rounded off 1983 by receiving the Principal's Prize (now Mr Brian Bradley, who succeeded Mr Ian Kerr who retired in 1982) for Head Boy. Mr Graham Parker was Form 7's form teacher.

Amongst the highest achievers for University Bursary, of the ten candidates who passed, seven were awarded "B" passes, and three gained "A" passes. Andrew was in the select group of "A" achievers, along with Shaun Craill and Alison Thorp. He passed Applied Maths, Pure Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. And so ended a most successful five years at Paeroa College, 1979 - 1983.

Paeroa College has indeed been privileged to have Andrew Morris as a pupil, be it in sport, in a leadership role or in academic achievement. We're so proud of him.