Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 21 July 2011 Contents LOCAL NEWS
Page 4 | 21 July, 2011
Looking back Terry Cayford reckons it might
have been coming from a big family that
prompted him to pursue teaching as a
"I suppose I just got used to having lots of
kids around me," he said.
"There were probably more blokes getting
into it in those days... it wasn't the thing to
do but it was an acceptable thing to do."
Teaching offered a solid career with plenty
of opportunity to move around the country
and potential for promotion. Forty years on
he can confidently say he took all of those
For the past 17 years, up until his
retirement on Friday, Mr Cayford has been
principal at Te Anau School. He's steered it
through the inevitable changes in education
imposed by successive governments but
also navigated the challenges thrown up
by the community's own changes such as
the heady days of the Manapouri tailrace
construction when the roll swelled to 270.
For many of the new pupils English was
their second language and teachers found
themselves with 10-year-olds needing new
But Mr Cayford said staff and pupils alike
had taken the multi-cultural diversity in
their stride and, with the annual arrivals
and departures of seasonal workers and
their families from all corners of the globe,
were now well used to different accents and
"From our point of view the children
have benefitted from having children
from other countries because it
helps them understand the wider
world," he said.
As for the political changes
in education, Mr Cayford was
philosophical. The biggest things
kids had to learn were their basic
facts and their spelling and that
was no different to when he started
teaching 40 years ago, he said.
"If the kids know their basic skills
and they're taught to speak articulately and
taught to question then they're developing
good life skills that are going to help them
out in their future lives -- providing they've
got good sets of values and good work
ethic," he said.
"I think the basic standards are more
important than the national standards."
In his efforts to grow well-rounded students,
Mr Cayford has been an advocate of
delegating responsibility to the children --
even down to letting them plan and run the
weekly school assemblies.
"If they want me to get up and speak they'll
invite me to get up and speak," he said.
The downside of heading a remote school
for such an extended period had been the
lack collegial support from peers. In bigger
centres like Invercargill principals could,
and did, meet regularly for a social drink
and a chance to share ideas, problems and
"Here you're on your own."
There were many issues that you couldn't
share with staff and others that you simply
didn't want to burden them with, he said.
The most certain thing in the education
sector was the knowledge that change
was always coming and it was a credit
to the teachers and the wider school
community that it was always accepted and
accommodated with little disruption to the
"You do very much rely on the resilience of
the staff and their willingness to change."
On his last day Mr Cayford was surprised
with the formal naming of the school's new
amenities block in his honour. Earlier the
Board of Trustees had presented him with a
new chainsaw -- a farewell gift from a board
that knew their principal well, he said.
He said he was looking forward to spending
more time with partner Liz Dodds and
tending to his 70-acre deer farm on the
outskirts of Te Anau but acknowledged he
would miss the hustle and bustle of daily
But he was happy to snap the lid of his
laptop computer closed on Friday afternoon
and leave it sitting on the desk.
"I won't miss it," he said, firmly.
Retiring Te Anau School principal Terry Cayford takes a closer look at the plaque on the school's
new amenities block named in his honour.
PHOTO: Barry Harcourt
Terry Cayford farewells pupils at Te Anau School as he
oversees the school crossing for the last time.
Long-time Fiordland moose researcher Ken
Tustin will share why he does it at Riverton's
Te Hikoi Southern Journey on July 31.
Mr Tustin, a biologist, was first drawn into
the moose story 40 years ago when he ran
a survey to determine moose status for the
then Forest Resarch Institute. It started
a lifelong fascination which led to the
formation of the New Zealand Wildlife Trust
and his publication of two books on the
subject -- A Wild Moose Chase, published in
1998 and followed up with a documentary
of the same name (available on DVD), and
A (Nearly) Complete History of the Moose in
New Zealand, published last year.
Hundreds of interviews over the years
have uncovered 80 new moose records.
Popular belief has it that only three bulls
and two cows were ever shot in Fiordland
but Mr Tustin has discovered credible
evidence of at least 25. His work, carried
out in partnership with wife Marg, covers
learning about moose ecology in Fiordland
by interpreting "field sign" of their presence,
tracking DNA, documenting their history
and maintaining a series of remote, motion-
activated cameras in the bush -- "trying to
get a moose to take a photo of itself".
Te Hikoi's monthly illustrated talks have a
strong following, usually drawing as many
as 90 people from around Southland.
Previous speakers have been as diverse as
GNS scientists to fishermen.
Museum manager Carole Power said most
speakers were invited on the suggestion of
members of the public and she anticipated
there would be a lot of interest in what Mr
Tustin had to say.
Entry to the talk, which starts at 4pm, is
$13 and includes a homemade afternoon
tea. Bookings are essential by calling
Te Hikoi on (03) 234-8260 or emailing
'Moose Man' to speak at Riverton
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