PM’s former teacher retires after 40 years’ service at Mt Maunganui College

A Tongan-born teacher who once taught Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva has retired.

Lita Taumoepeau  taught at the Tonga Teachers Training College in Nukualofa. One of her many trainee teachers was Hon. Pōhiva.

Her father, Malu Taumoepeau, taught at the college when it opened in the 1950s.

After school in Tonga, Lita Taumoepeau  studied at the University of Auckland, graduating with an MA in 1973.

She began teaching at Mt Maunganui College in 1978 and retired last month.

Her husband, Paul Furneaux, retired at the same time after teaching for 40 years at Ōtumoetai College.

“When people ask me why I have stayed at the college for so long, the answer is the students,” she told the Bay of Plenty Times.

She said she was proud the school had just appointed its third Pasifika head girl.

“To me, it was like a retirement present,” she said.

She said career highlights included entering her senior history students in the first national research history competition for The New Zealand Historical Association special studies award in 1988.

She was also proud of the success her students had achieved in the Bay of Plenty Times newspapers in education competition.

Her children William and Seini go through their education at both Mt Maunganui and Ōtumoetai colleges.

When their children left school she and her husband hosted international students from Japan, Thailand, Brazil and Germany from 1996 to 2003.

The main points

  • A Tongan-born teacher who once taught Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva has retired.
  • Lita Taumoepeau  taught at the Tonga Teachers Training College in Nukualofa. One of her many trainee teachers was Hon. Pohiva.
  • She began teaching at Mt Maunganui College in 1978 and retired last month.

For more information

Furneauxs retire after combined 80 years in education

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