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Staff and students at NorthTec’s Kaitaia campus took time out of their Matariki celebrations to honour a long-serving tutor who passed away last year.
Alistair Newman was remembered at a special whakatau held at the campus in Oxford Street, followed by the blessing of a memorial bench. Family and friends were also in attendance.
Alistair was a tutor in horticulture and sustainable rural development for around 30 years, based at the Kaitaia campus and teaching at locations around the Far North.
He was a much-loved tutor and staff member and is credited with making a huge contribution to teaching in the Far North. He was also a great advocate for the small, rural communities in the area and was frequently known to use his own time and money to assist with community and marae-based projects.
Following Alistair’s death in September 2014 as the result of an illness, a bench was presented to the Kaitaia team by Robin Storey, NorthTec Maintenance Supervisor, and a plaque dedicating the bench to Alistair’s memory was added by Kaitaia staff.
At the memorial ceremony Alistair’s widow, Fumiko, planted a kowhai tree in Alistair’s name and unveiled the plaque. She was guided by Charlie Tipene, the Kaitaia campus kaumatua, and Hohepa Rudolph, NorthTec kaumatua.
Former students and colleagues spoke about their memories of Alistair and his contribution to their lives and the lives of others. A representative from Alistair’s adopted marae, Te Paatu at Pamapuria, also spoke, in Japanese for the sake of Fumiko.
Helen Cossey, NorthTec Student Advisor, said the event was an opportunity to remember Alistair, acknowledge his contribution to NorthTec and his community, and celebrate his life.
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