He may be retired from teaching but Vijeshwar Prasad still takes an active interest in the profession and joined teachers striking in Whanganui in May this year.

Now he has been awarded honorary membership of the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) and joins around 750 honorary members, who are (mostly) no longer teaching but still support the association.

"Every member is like a link in the chain. We should have a long chain and for that, we need a link. That is why I joined the union," Prasad said.

He and his family came to New Zealand from Fiji in 1989 after the military coups d'Etat led by Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka in 1987.

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"I was vice-principal of a large secondary school in Fiji, Indian College [now known as Jai Narayan College]."

The day after he arrived in New Zealand, he was teaching at a high school and said it was a culture shock.

"That is why I like to support people who are new to New Zealand now," he said.

"I know how it feels to be adjusting to a new place and culture."

After teaching in New Zealand for 25 years, Prasad said his honorary PPTA membership means a lot to him and he is proud to lend his support those working in the profession.

"The day you decide that you do not feel like going to school is the day you had better look for another job or think of retiring," he says.

"Today's teachers are teaching less but doing a lot more paperwork."