The teaching community is mourning this week after four teachers from Hawke's Bay schools passed away within a week.

The Wairoa College head of physical education, Venus Mitchell, 32, passed away last Thursday after a long battle with cancer.

Denise Eaglesome, who is the college's youth co-ordinator as well as the Wairoa District deputy mayor, said Ms Mitchell was not only a great teacher but also a colleague and friend.

"Venus was such a gorgeous young woman who impacted the lives and made positive changes to so many students."


Ms Eaglesome said it was a very sad time for Wairoa, because Ms Mitchell was an inspiration to many.

"The number of Facebook posts by current and ex-students is a testimony to the amazing teacher she was."

Wairoa College principal Chris Allen said the community was saddened by the loss of Ms Mitchell, because she was such a wonderful young woman.

"She had been battling cancer for a while and she will be sincerely missed by her whanau and community."

The funeral for Ms Mitchell is being held today at 1pm at Iwitea Marae followed by interment at the Wairoa Cemetery.

Taradale High School physical education teacher Angela Nilsson-Findlay also lost her battle with cancer, passing away on Friday at her home.

Ms Nilsson-Findlay was heavily involved with Hawke's Bay Hockey and in 2014 a fundraiser game was organised by Shea McAleese to help her and her family fund the cancer treatment.

Dan McAleese, the father of Shea, played at the fundraising event and said Ms Nilsson-Findlay was a wonderful person who was dedicated to coaching, managing and playing hockey.

"It is so sad, she has four young kids who all play rep hockey so hopefully they can continue her legacy."

Retired Lindisfarne College head of English Rodney Dowling also passed away on Friday, at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

Fellow Lindisfarne teacher Grant Gilbert said Mr Dowling was widely respected and a very clever English scholar in his own right.

"His love of learning transmitted to the students and he was such an approachable and understanding teacher who was a pleasure to work with."

Another Lindisfarne teacher, Matt Kidd, said Mr Dowling was a teacher at Te Aute College and Taradale High School before Lindisfarne so was a very important educational person for the whole of Hawke's Bay.

"I worked very closely with him and he taught English to a very high level. He was an incredibly positive person and was a lover of cricket and trout fishing and I am going to miss him a lot."

A celebration of Mr Dowling's life will be held on Friday November 11 at 2pm at the Lindisfarne College chapel.

Taradale High School also lost technology teacher Pete Forshaw after he passed away in Hawke's Bay Hospital on October 22.

Mr Forshaw was described by Taradale High School principal, Stephen Hensman, as "generous to a fault" as he gave staff and friends his time to help with repairs and renovations - without charge.

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

The Hawke's Bay chairman of the Secondary Principals' Association, Stephen Hensman, said there was a collective sense of heartfelt sympathy for all the families, friends, colleagues and students who were feeling the loss of these wonderful teachers.

"All four teachers were highly respected and genuinely valued within their schools. There has been a genuine outpouring of sadness and grief for these teachers," Mr Hensman said.

"This degree of wider community support is a typical experience in today's schools, but it is not taken for granted. The wider community support at times like this is deeply appreciated."