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Fay Mason has been a part of the North Shore community since 1979 and to say she has done a fair bit in her time here would be an understatement. Fay has been involved in educating many of the Shore’s younger generations as the Deputy Principal at Mairangi Bay School and Northcross Intermediate, and Principal at Birkdale North School and Murrays Bay Intermediate. She retired in 2002 but remains heavily involved in the community and education; she has a Queen's Service Order for valuable voluntary service to the community and is also a Justice of the Peace. Fay answered a few of Channel's questions about her work in the community and her upcoming role as a judge for the Junior AIMES Awards, which recognise young high achievers from the Shore.
Courtney Bennett: What makes you passionate about education?
Fay Mason: My special passion has always been working with emerging adolescent students. This stage of their development as they transition from childhood to adolescence is "the launching pad for their lives".
CB: Tell us about the work you do with schools.
FM: Since retiring I have maintained a relationship with schools. I have worked part time as an evaluative Lecturer for the Education Department of AUT, which entails visiting Primary Teacher Trainees when they are on Practicum placements in classrooms and providing feedback to the students and the University.
My other contact with schools comes by Working with Global Gateway Programme, run by the University of Indiana. This means finding places for young, newly-trained American Teachers to work in New Zealand Classrooms for eight weeks and homestay with local families. The teachers come from several US universities and I have found, without exception, the faculties of their universities regard New Zealand Education very highly.
CB: What does a typical day look like for you?
FM: A typical day for me is to enjoy the luxury of being retired and able to read the Herald with breakfast and then attending a Suna Pilates class before undertaking whatever commitments are in my diary. I also enjoy the chance to work in our garden to share dinner with friends and family.
CB: Do you have any favourite community events?
FM: Along with my husband I enjoy any events that bring people together on the beaches, such as the Christmas Day performance of the Golden Weather at Takapuna and Sculpture on the Shore. We also enjoy the regular arts events at Mairangi Arts Centre and North Art where so much local talent is showcased and it’s a chance to meet with other arts supporters on the Shore.
CB: What do you like most about the Milford community?
FM: Milford is a superb location to live. The beach and Lake Pupuke provide excellent communities facilities. There are quality education providers from pre-school to tertiary very close by. There are many long-term residents, so moving about means meeting and interacting with many people one knows. A village feel with city amenities and all close to the beach, clean air and a good climate. That's pretty unique in this fast-changing world.
CB: What are you most looking forward to about being a judge for the Junior AIMES awards?
FM: After being a foundation member of the North Harbour Club and a member of the judging panel for the first 10 years of AIMES Awards, I am honoured and excited to join the judging panel for the inaugural Junior AIMES. The talents of young people are constantly extending and I know that for any winner the award would greatly assist them further develop their talents and skills.
CB: Anything you feel we could better as a community?
FM: Improve our courtesies, both as drivers and in interacting on the streets, in the shops and out and about. I would like the North Shore to be known as a place where all people are welcome and safe. With the natural advantages we have, we can be a model not just for Auckland but also the world in welcoming the diversity of our changing population, sharing our customs and values with the new arrivals and taking an interest in theirs. We are all migrants whether our forbears came by Waka, sailing ship, or 747. Let's live, love and have fun.
CB: In my next life, I am going to come back as…
FM: A teacher all over again. I just love the energy of young people.
Channel Magazine: Issuu 58 September 2015