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Founding principal dies


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Noel Scott, Makoura College's first principal.
Noel Scott, Makoura College’s first principal.

The first principal of Makoura College, Noel Scott, has died — about a month before he would have celebrated the college’s 50th anniversary reunion.

Mr Scott, who lived to the age of 88, has been described by former students as a one of a kind, progressive, and extremely supportive principal who continued to inspire them well into their careers.

At a school assembly on February 6 1968, he addressed a group of staff and 140 third-form students for the first time.

“There is an air of excitement in setting up a new school,” he told them.

“The board is excited and so are the teachers and workmen.

“But this excitement must extend to the pupils if it is to bear fruit.

“This is a good school and you must all become part of it.”

Mr Scott, who most recently lived in Mount Maunganui, attended at Makoura’s landmark reunion in 2008 — when the college celebrated its 40-year anniversary.

Taking to the stage to address former pupils, Mr Scott had said he was immensely proud of his time serving the college.

“None, bar none, of the things I have done have given me the satisfaction I had as principal of Makoura.”

Mr Scott opposed corporal punishment during his time at Makoura.

He kept his cane in a rubbish bin — something he described as “a Freudian slip”.

Wendy Neal, who was a student at Makoura during its first year, said Mr Scott had “very progressive ideas for his time”.

“He was a great inspiration to me as I have spent my career in education.”

Another student paid tribute to him online, writing that Mr Scott was “a principal who could see the potential in every student”.

“Every student deserves a principal like you.” Makoura’s current principal, Paul Green, said his predecessor’s absence would be felt by many at the upcoming reunion.

“Naturally he was due to be an honoured guest at our reunion celebration and it will be very disappointing for many that the opportunity to talk with him over the Easter weekend has been lost.

“As principal, you are at an intersection of multiple diverse expectations and this would have been particularly acute for Noel in those early years for as the staff, students and community sought to establish the Makoura identity.

“For me, meeting him would have given another level of insight into what elements went into generating the foundational character of the school.”

Mr Green said a decision would be made shortly on the most fitting way to pay tribute to Mr Scott’s service to Makoura College.

Makoura’s 50th anniversary celebrations will take place over Easter weekend next month. Mr Green said the celebrations details were finalised and ready to roll starting Friday afternoon with a Powhiri followed by a “mix and mingle”.

“Saturday’s the main day of action with cultural and supporting activities at the college during the daytime and an evening choice of dinner at the Copthorne or ‘old school’ disco in the school hall.”

Mr Green said the occasion will close with a tree planting ceremony on Sunday morning.

To register and take part in the Makoura College 50-year celebrations, visit www.mc.school.nz.


  1. Condolences to Noel’s family. I attended between 1970 through to 1974 and remember him well. A fair man who took a deep interest in all students

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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