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Haere rā e te piki kōtuku, Hone Green

It is with great sadness that the Mangere College community has received the news of the recent passing of Matua Hone Green in Opotiki, and this deep loss cannot go without acknowledgement.

Hone started at Mangere College in 1972, the year the school was officially opened, as an Assistant Teacher in Social Studies, English, Maori and Polynesian Studies. In 1973 he was appointed Head of the Maori Department and in 1974, the Dean of Form 3.

Hone was integral in establishing Te Reo and Tikanga Maori at the school and promoting it in the wider community, as well as exposing the students to a world outside their own backyard. This resulted in Te Reo being taught by Maori students to Arahanga Intermediate classes and at night school for the community. The Maori Club went on the road which took them to Tongariro and Opotiki in 1974 and the South Island in 1981.

Hone also played an important role in setting up the Polynesian Club which grew in numbers to 180 under his guidance and travelled the North Island. In 1976, the club gained 1st place in the first ever Auckland Secondary Schools’ Polyfest at Hillary College and again in 1977 when Mangere College was the host school. At the time both schools were acknowledged for their leadership in multiculturalism.
Hone went on leave to complete his University Studies in 1977, returning in 1979. Then in 1988, he left Mangere College to take up the position of Principal at Nga Tapuwae College.

In the 1977 magazine, the following was written of Matua Hone Green:
‘His voice is seldom raised, he is never seen posturing or gloomy and there is no entry for ‘cruelty’ or ‘whining’ in his dictionary. His strength is of an unassuming kind, a blend of spirit and experience, of being a good community man, one who will take a microphone without rehearsal and be the master of ceremonies or a guitarist and join the chorus. With equal willingness, he will pick up a shovel and help pour concrete into a neighbour’s foundations, he is a man of two cultures – a true New Zealander.‘

Hone Green was a mighty figure, a man of mana and quiet dignity. When he spoke one felt compelled to listen. He was one of the MC greats and will be sorely missed. The Mangere College family remembers him with love and offers deepest condolences to his whanau.

Nō reira e te matua, haere atu ki a rātou kua taka i mua i a koe.