Porritt Primary School in Tamatea is named after Sir Arthur Porritt (1900-1994), New Zealand's 11th governor-general from 1967 to 1972.
Born in Wanganui in 1900, he was the son of medical practitioner Edward Porritt and his wife Ivy.
He attended Hurworth School in Wanganui (which combined in 1927 with Heretaunga School to become Hereworth) and Wanganui Collegiate. During his first year at Wanganui Collegiate in 1914 his mother died, and his father left for World War I shortly afterwards, but returned.
Following in his father's footsteps, Arthur studied medicine at the University of Otago. He became a Rhode Scholar in 1923 and went to the University of Oxford to further his studies.
Although he would later say this did not advance his knowledge appreciably, it did give him time to pursue sporting interests of athletics and rugby (while at Wanganui Collegiate he played against Te Aute College in rugby, and fondly remembered the contests).
Arthur nearing his death in 1994, reflected he was probably best remembered for something lasting 11 seconds.
Just before leaving for the University of Oxford, Arthur had gained selection as a New Zealand champion athlete. He would contest the 100m sprint final in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, where he came third for the bronze medal.
This race was immortalised in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire which followed the lives of two athletes, Eric Liddell of Scotland and Harold Abrahams of England.
Arthur did not want his name mentioned in connection with the 100m final in which Harold won, so his character was called "Tom Watson" of New Zealand. Fearing the movie would not do justice to close friend Harold, or the Olympic Games, he did not want his name used in the film.
After the film was a success, he regretted that decision (his family was not happy with him either). Arthur and Harold Abrahams met every year with their wives to have dinner at 7pm on July 7 – the exact time of the 100m final, until Harold Abrahams passed away in 1978.
The 1924 Olympic Games would not be the last for Arthur, and despite his 1926 marriage to Molly and clinical training at St Mary's Hospital, London, becoming a priority, he gained selection and led an Olympic team of 10 to the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, where an Achilles heel injury stopped him competing.
He was however of use to New Zealand boxer Ted Morgan who had dislocated a knuckle in training. Arthur tended to Ted twice a day, and despite favouring the injured hand, won gold in the welterweight division.
He wrote a book in 1929 called Athletics with the British runner Douglas Lowe who won 800m gold at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics. Many of their ideas were ahead of their time in terms of diet and training, but they stated they were against women competing in sport. Women had competed in athletics at the Olympics for the first time in 1928.
In 1936 Arthur was manager of the New Zealand Olympic team in Berlin. He made the decision that Jack Lovelock should concentrate on the 1500m event – and not run in the 5000m race. Jack Lovelock, in world record time, won gold for New Zealand.
Voted onto the International Olympic Committee in 1934, he would remain on it before becoming governor-general in 1967.
Athletics and sports administration were not the only areas he would excel in – his medical career progressed to such an extent he was appointed surgeon-in-ordinary in 1936 to the Duke and Duchess of York.
Upon the abdication of King Edward VIII, he was appointed as surgeon to King George VI, until World War II saw Arthur enlist and have the rank of brigadier in the Royal Army Medical Corps.
He was in France until the evacuation of Dunkirk, then went to Egypt, and took part in the D-Day landings. For his war efforts he was mentioned twice in dispatches and awarded an MBE in 1943 and an OBE in 1945 and appointed an officer in the United States Legion of Merit.
Arthur became Sir Arthur Porritt in 1950, and by then had remarried to Kathleen Peck and had three children, one of which is noted British environmentalist and writer Jonathan.
After the war he was appointed as surgeon to King George VI. He was asked in 1953 by Queen Elizabeth II to be her Sergeant Surgeon, the senior surgeon in the royal household, responsible for selecting the best surgeon for the appropriate circumstance.
The appointment to governor-general was announced in 1966 and saw him leave medicine and return to New Zealand. Despite being thrilled at the appointment he knew little about what it involved, until conferring with two former governors-generals.
His appointment as the first New Zealand born governor-general was greeted with excitement here, despite him being better known for his sporting prowess.
Although Arthur was absent from New Zealand for most of his life, he told curious news reporters he never gave up his New Zealand passport and "he never ceased to be a New Zealander".
Arthur on his engagements would recall his growing up in New Zealand as a young boy, to counter him sounding like a middle-aged English gentleman.
During his period as governor-general he made around 1200 speeches, most written by himself.
He struggled with his Waitangi Day speeches, and one year he stated the issues between Māori and Pākehā were dealt with adequately "through the biological process of inter-marriage".
His visit to Napier and Hastings in 1968 was attended by 4000 schoolchildren at McLean Park and 3000 at Nelson Park.
After his term as governor-general ended in 1972, he returned to England.
Sir Arthur Porritt passed away in London aged 94 in 1994.
While he was pleased with his life's achievements (too many to list here), he was viewed as being a humble man.
"I have had success in work and play and only partly deserved. I have consequently had position and prestige, which I have honestly enjoyed, but never been unduly influenced by.
"I have never had much wealth, but relatively have made enough not to worry about this aspect of life. I have made mistakes and enjoyed learning from them, but summing it all up, what has been the essence of it all is the inestimable gift of that indefinable quality called happiness, both the receiving and giving of it."
Acknowledgement to Graeme Woodfield and Joseph Romanos for their book No Ordinary Man: The Remarkable Life of Arthur Porritt
Michael Fowler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a contract researcher and commercial business writer of Hawke's Bay history. Follow him on facebook.com/michaelfowlerhistory