Sign o’the times-educator Ev Perry honoured

Ev Perry spent most of his 40-year teaching career at Tamaki College.

So, it’s no surprise that three different people nominated the school’s former principal to have a new street in Glen Innes named after him.

“Ev would be so proud and also feel he’s not worthy of it but thrilled to know that people thought so highly of him,” his widow Brenda Perry says.

“He wouldn’t have expected anything like having a street named after him for just doing his job, which was helping the kids.”

Ev, who died in 2015, taught at the school between 1958-59, then again from 1963-67 and was appointed deputy principal in 1970, before becoming principal in 1971.

There was something special about Tamaki that just kept drawing Ev back to the area says Brenda, who also taught at the school near the end of her career.

The late Ev Perry. Photo supplied

“Out of his 40 years teaching, he did 28 years at Tamaki.

“The people kept bringing him back to Tamaki. They welcomed us and the family.

“There was a warm feeling about the place, and he cultivated it. Everyone worked together and got on with it.”

The father-of-four coached the First XV before he became principal and was also very involved in cultural performances, says Brenda.

“He loved helping the children who didn’t have the same advantages that we had.

“He could command an audience and was very good with words.”

After Ev retired, he stayed involved with school, at one stage reconnecting through his granddaughter-in-law Tenille, who started teaching at Tamaki.

“Soana Pamaka, the current principal, used to take Ev to rugby games and he’d give pep talks to the First XV.

“Even when Ev retired, they would invite us to senior prizegiving.

“He went to prize-givings until he wasn’t well enough to go. When the First XV beat schools like Kings or Auckland Grammar, that was huge for him.”

Pakuranga’s Brenda Perry with her replica sign. Photo supplied

In 2005, the Ev Perry classroom block was unveiled.

“He was thrilled about that too,” Brenda says.

“He was really proud of the students and their successes.”

Living in Pakuranga, Ev was very much connected to the Tamaki community, often going shopping with Brenda in Panmure town centre.

“People were quite happy if we were in the street to come up and talk to us.

“Even after Ev died, one boy in particular from school would come up to me and tell me about his family.”

As for what to do with the Ev Perry Way sign, Brenda says it will sit proudly on her apartment windowsill, which overlooks a bowling green.

“All the players will be able to read it. I don’t know anyone else who has one.”