A man described as having huge mana and respect was farewelled from Camberly School after 20 years of service.

Pat Watson retired from his role as principal last month and he had been a strong part of the community for a number of years. He would be remembered for his dedication and passion towards the young children and families.

Friend and colleague Kate Holden said, "He was a honest and humble man who had huge respect from the whole of Camberly."

Mr Watson had a positive influence on the school in many ways and made it a happy and secure place to be. "We decided to enforce a value-based school rather than rule-based and this had a real positive influence on the children," Mr Watson said.


He lived by three simple lines - "respect yourself, respect others and respect property".

He said when they brought this in the rate of vandalism dropped significantly and the pupils developed and responded.

"They were a neat bunch of kids who faced a lot of difficulties but we made school a secure and happy environment for them."

Two weeks ago the students came together and showcased their cultural talents with songs, a waiata and a haka for Mr Watson. They presented him with a waka huia the children had designed themselves. They wrote statements about him and then Hugh Tareha created the piece of artwork.

Mayor Lawrence Yule, representatives of the police and former students all attended the farewell and celebrated his success.

The retired principal said the years he spent at Camberly were some of the best and he had made some "wonderful" memories.

"One time a student ran away from the classroom so I decided to get in my car and drive to his house to beat him home. Just as he walked up to open the door he looked up and there I was."

Mr Watson was overwhelmed with all the support he had been given and said he would spend the next months being a "housewife" before doing voluntary work.