Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 20, June 1976


With the death of Mr. McPherson at Waihi Beach in 1975 the WAIHI HISTORICAL SOCIETY lost its Foundation President, the teaching profession one of its grand old men, and the whole district a man whose kindliness had earned him a unique place in the affections of all, especially his former pupils.

A Schoolmaster for almost 50 years, Mr. McPherson was born at Coromandel in 1897 and came to Waihi in 1899. In 1903 he enrolled in the primer class of the old Central School. His secondary and teacher training was continued at Auckland Grammar School.

Beginning as a pupil teacher at Te Kuiti, he then opened his own school near Otorohanga before becoming the first headmaster of the Salvation Army farm school at Putaruru for 18 months.

In 1923 he returned as Assist. Master at the Waihi District High School. During the next 12½ years he so endeared himself to a whole generation of local schoolchildren that his name was recalled with pride and pleasure wherever his former pupils met.

The influence of his warm personality, just discipline and his ability to bring out the best in his pupils was equally appreciated at Horotiu, where he taught for the next 28 years, and gave much of himself to the community.

A keen footballer, sprinter, swimmer and boxer in his younger days, he later became a most successful sports coach. The universal respect he had gained was exemplified when he left Waihi for Horotiu in 1935. A citizens committee under the guidance of the mayor, Mr. W.M. Wallnutt, accorded him the rare honour of a public farewell.

On retiring to Waihi Beach 28 years later he was welcomed back with joy and enthusiasm. Former pupils were delighted to have their children and in some cases grandchildren, under his care when he went back to teach for two years at the Waihi Intermediate School, then at Waitawheta, and as relieving Head Teacher at Waihi South until 1965.

Among his many other activities Mr. McPherson was a well-known bowler in the Thames Valley-Waikato area, and served terms as President of the Ngaruawahia and Horotiu Bowling Club being a life member of the latter.

He served as President of the Waikato branch of New Zealand Educational Institute, and in 1945 and again in 1961 was President of the Waikato Headmasters' Association.

Appointed a Justice of the Peace when he retired to Waihi, Mr. McPherson was President of the Hauraki Justices of the Peace Association in 1970/71.

He is survived by his wife, a son and three daughters.