Caning log book resurfaces at WHHS

By REBECCA DEVINE in Rotorua
What do singer Tim Beveridge, rugby legend Buck Shelford and Rotorua deputy principal Peter Kaua have in common?

They all got the cane at school.

And while it doesn't appear to have done them any harm in the long term, that doesn't mean they want to see it brought back into New Zealand school life.

The three, who have gone on to lead vastly different lives, appear in the old caning book which recently resurfaced at Western Heights High School.

Mr Kaua is now a deputy principal at the school and can't remember what he got the cane for the day his name was entered in the infamous book. He said it was "probably for being a smarta*** or disrespectful" and admitted to getting the cane a few more times informally.

Not that he's complaining. Mr Kaua credits the cane with teaching him self-respect and respect for others. "A lot of the stuff we did was pretty childish. It taught us to respect people."

Mr Kaua said whether students feared the cane depended on who was doing the caning - and a couple of teachers at the school at the time were particularly feared.

But Mr Kaua also knows the flip-side of caning. He's had to cane students when he was a teacher and he doesn't think it should be reintroduced at schools.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust this week called for the return of corporal punishment in schools.

"It was suitable for the era but that era has gone," said Mr Kaua

PE teacher Paora Morrison was caned for "continually talking and being disruptive" while All Blacks great Buck Shelford received his caning for "general disruption".

Mr Beveridge, now an internationally renowned singer, laughed and denied ever being caned at Western Heights - but said it could have been his brother.

However, Mr Beveridge admitted he'd been hit with a bit of wood several times while he was at boarding school in Hamilton when he was younger.

He reckons it was a fair form of punishment when he deserved it, but says a lot of the times he got it was for things that were unfair

One time he was hit for forgetting to turn his pyjamas in the right way for the laundry lady - "that seemed really unjust".

- Rotorua Daily Post

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