Taradale High School staff and students are mourning the loss of one of their most popular teachers - in the words of one student "Mr Forshaw was not just a teacher or a coach, to a lot of us he was family".

Pete Forshaw, who was a skilled technology teacher and a mechanic by trade, died in Hawke's Bay Hospital last Saturday.

Taradale High School principal Stephen Hensman said Mr Forshaw had not been well at the start of last week and had been too ill to attend school on Wednesday or Thursday, and his health deteriorated further on Friday despite medical help.

His colleagues had been deeply affected by his death, Mr Hensman said, as had the students who embraced his teaching approach and assistance.


"Pete was a colleague and a friend - there was never a bad word said about him," Mr Hensman said.

"Staff have shown enormous resilience, supporting each other and resuming work on Tuesday in the most professional way, despite being very upset."

To assist many students in dealing with the sad news the school's library and wharekura were used as support centres to provide them with counselling assistance.

"Students are very upset at this news - he was a dedicated form teacher with a loyal form class."

A former head of department, David Szelesi, said Mr Forshaw's most powerful teaching tool was "his smile and kind heart".

In his role as technology teacher he got the successful and popular motorcycle construction course up and running, where students could make their own motorcycles.

"He was a superb craftsman with wood as well as metal, making him a versatile technology teacher."

Mr Hensman described him as "generous to a fault" as he gave staff and friends his time to help with repairs and renovations - without charge.

He was also one of the school's deans of Maori students and "so many" students received support from him in that role.

"He recently worked with his house, Kaiwhata, on the school haka in preparation for the inter-house school haka competition - and they won."

Mr Forshaw was also a respected basketball coach where he revealed a talent as an inventive tactician.

One of his team members said he probably "popped a few veins by watching me miss a basket, but he never gave up on us".

Members of the Sunhawks Masters Basketball also paid tribute to Mr Forshaw, calling him "our life, our soul, our energy, our party".

Mr Hensman said the school's thoughts and condolences were with Mr Forshaw's family.

"He was a wonderful father and family man and we are particularly aware of his son, Midge, who is a valued member of our Year 13."

He said the school was honoured to show its huge respect for "Pete" by hosting his funeral at 11am this Saturday in the main hall.