Former Hikurangi School principal Bruce Crawford, who died on Thursday. Photo / Tania Whyte
Northland’s primary education fraternity is mourning long-serving educator Bruce Crawford.
The former principal of Hikurangi School passed away on Thursday morning.
Te Tai Tokerau Principals’ Association president and Horahora School principal Pat Newman said Crawford began teaching decades ago after a stint in the army.
He was a great colleague who was well-known in Northland as someone who supported other principals, Newman said.
“He always rang, whenever a new principal was appointed he rang them and welcomed them in.
“He would help anyone. He would give advice to anyone. He would stand beside them if they were in trouble and there’s not a hell of a lot of people that do that.
“He was one of the last of the old school, where systems didn’t rule him – it was relationships.”
Newman said Crawford led a full life outside of work, having been married three times and had one son.
“He was a well-rounded person with a hell of a lot of life and gusto. He was a good friend to many of us.
“He was a great principal, a great professional, a great colleague and a great friend.”
Crawford also enjoyed a laugh and a drink, he added.
The long-time principal had some health issues before his retirement last year, which continued afterwards, Newman said.
Current Hikurangi School principal Jodi Edwards said Crawford’s death had been a “real shock” to staff and the community.
Deputy principal Stacey Richards, who worked with him for more than a decade, said the children of Hikurangi School were Crawford’s world.
“He was a man of his word and always 100 per cent had our backs,” she said.
“What’s really sad for us is he couldn’t enjoy the retirement he worked hard for and he deserved.”
Crawford featured in the Advocate a number of times during his years as Hikurangi School principal, including in 2015 when the school opened its first Māori immersion class.
He said at the time the opening of the classroom was a long time coming.
“I’ve always wanted it because I think te reo should be as common as English,” he said.
“We have 200 students at our school and a 63 per cent Māori roll.”