An Auckland primary school teacher has been banned from the classroom after playing games of "tickle torture" and "upside downies" with children.
Experienced teacher Donald McIntyre Morrison, 69, was cleared of criminal charges at the High Court at Auckland last September.
He was acquitted by a jury on 25 representative charges of doing indecent acts against students between the ages of 6 and 8, from between 2011 and 2012.
Now, he has been struck off by the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal, which concluded his actions amounted to serious misconduct.
Morrison admitted the misconduct but denied any "improper motives".
He pulled female students under the age of 13 onto his knee, both over and under their clothing.
He kept them in the classroom at lunchtime so he could tickle them, and never did it in front of other adults. One child was described as being "vulnerable".
The tribunal also heard that Morrison gave children "horsey bites" and "horsey rides" on his lap, while he also smacked bottoms.
He also admitted playing an "upside down" game where he held girls upside down by their ankles.
The tribunal was also concerned that he carried out the acts in secrecy.
"He deliberately did not indulge in tickle torture, the upside down game, horse bites, or horsey rides during the time a student teacher was in the classroom," the tribunal heard.
"He did not indulge in any of the games when other adults were present or likely to see him."
During his trial last year, defence counsel Richard Earwaker said Morrison was a grandfather with more than 40 years' teaching experience and the recipient of a prestigious award.
He said Morrison may have been unwise with his physical contact with students but there was nothing indecent about it."But being unwise or stupid doesn't make you a criminal.
"The name of the school, as well as the complainants, has been suppressed.
Morrison sought permanent name suppression but was unsuccessful in what the tribunal noted was an attempt "without any real merit".
The tribunal cancelled his registration, which he accepted as the "appropriate outcome".
He was also ordered to pay 30 per cent of the Teachers Council complaints assessment committee's court costs.