Friday, October 23, 2015


My memories of primary school in Hawera in the early to mid 1950s is starting to fade a little but not so the year spent in standard five where I enjoyed the privilege of being taught by a quite remarkable lady ... Ms (Margaret) Jones.   By any measure she was a gifted teacher.   She made learning fun; she encouraged; she praised when praise was due; she never raised her voice' she treated us as individuals; she had our respect.

And so it was in the 1990s one of our number decided to organise a class reunion.    More followed at semi-regular intervals, the last one in Auckland timed to coincide with Ms Jones' birthday.    The number that take the trouble to turn up is significant.  There's Ross who founded (and owns) the London Festival Orchestra; Ian who distinguished himself as one of our senior Trade Commissioners; George who carved out a career in the diplomatic service; Judith, academic, businesswoman; Cynthia, university lecturer plus a lot of us 'also rans'.     Totally enjoyable occasions with Ms Jones in a staring role and very much with it, remembering all our names and, heaven forbid, our quirks.   She even kept extracts of our work and brings these those along to share (and embarrass).

And so it was that just last night I came across an article here profiling Ms Jones at 90 years young as the longest serving member of the Soil and Health Association ... and one more thing, covered in the profile at some length ... Margaret remains an absolutely committed Communist, up front, no apologies, no pushing the ideology but I guess a little sad that none of her proteges (to the best of my knowledge) saw the light.   Fascinating lady.   A couple of years ago I asked her which NZ politician she had the most respect for ... I expected Vic Wilcox or perhaps John A Lee.   Her answer flattened me, George Gair, a true gentleman (her words).   Contradictions abound.

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