1493601775043 - Much-respected former principal behind $79m school rebuild dies

Much-respected former principal behind $79m school rebuild dies

An Auckland principal who secured New Zealand’s largest public school rebuild has died. 

Ken Havill, the former principal of Western Springs College, died at his west Auckland home on April 29 after a long illness, aged 67.

His wife of 47 years, Lorraine, and their two daughters, Paola and Si’alei, were by his side.

Havill was the principal of Western Springs College for 19 years before he retired in 2016. He joined the college in 1990.

READ MORE: Western Springs College principal Ken Havill steps aside

During his time as principal, Havill was at the forefront of securing a $79 million college rebuild – the largest public school rebuild in New Zealand history.

He was also awarded the 2008 Woolf Fisher Fellowship, a prestigious award for leading secondary teachers and principals.

Western Springs College board of trustees chairman John Loof said Havill had left behind a legacy to be proud of. 

“He was the driving force behind the approval for the rebuild, and the progress of the college.

“He changed the course of the school and [had] too many great achievements to mention,” Loof said. 

Principals Association of New Zealand president Michael Williams said Havill was a “shining light”.

“He was a very well respected principal and dedicated his life for Western Springs College,” Williams said. 

“He worked incredibly hard for a long period of time for the college.”

Former Western Springs College valedictorian Isabella Lenihan-Ikin said Havill was committed to creating an education system that met the needs of all students.

Lenihan-Ikin served as a student representative to the Board of Trustees with Havill in 2014.

She said Havill believed in the power of Maori education and invested in the school’s Maori immersion unit, Nga Puna o Waioera.

It saw the college become one of the first schools to adopt a co-governance relationship in recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“He believed strongly in fostering a healthy relationship between students and teachers,” Lenihan-Ikin said.

“He didn’t buy into the rhetoric that for students to succeed they had to wear uniforms or call teachers ‘Ms’, ‘Sir’ or ‘Mr’.

“He gave students agency to be ourselves, to develop our identity and to use education as a platform to affect change towards a better, safer and more just world.”

Havill will be lying in state at Nga Oho Marae, Nga Puna o Waiorea, Western Springs College from 2pm on May 2.

A celebration of his life will be held in the school hall at 11am on May 4.