BREMNER John B.
Rector 1966 – 1981 Started in 3rd term.
J. BREMNER, M.M., E.D., M.A. (Hons.)
Mr. Bremner started at Kings in September 1966, corning to us from Westlake High School (now split into Westlake Boys’ High School and Westlake Girls’ High School), where he was Head of Department of Languages , via a term as a releaving Inspector. Prior to his time at Westlake Mr. Bremner taught for a number of years at Auckland Grammar. While there he coached Hockey, on two occasions having his teams win N.Z.S.S.H.A. Tournaments, as well as Auckland Association ones, and carried this on at Westlake. During this time he served as Secretary, later as President of N.Z. Secondary Schools’ Hockey Asscciation, so that with this background it was not really surprising to see him turning out as coach of Kings High School Seconds for a season or two.
Most of Mr. Bremner’s military service was in North Africa and Italy, with the Armoured Cars and Second Division Cavalry. It was as a result of operations in the Po Valley, in Italy, thdt he won the Military Medal. (Two well known New Zealand figures were in the same unit – Sir John Marshall and the Rt. Hon. Robert Muldoon – which explains why Mr. Bremner always (or is it never?) votes National. Wartime service ended with Mr. Bremner holding warrant rank and the position of R.S.M. On demobilsation , he attended Auckland University, taking the M.A. degree course, and gaining Honours in French. Then it was back into uniform as a member of the School Cadet Corps . The highlight of this period would be the London parade as a member of the N.Z. Army Contingent on the occasion of the Coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. While there Lt. J. Bremner bore the ensign as a member of a special N.Z. guard at Buckingham Palace. Another overseas trip came when he was awarded the first Woolf Fisher Scholarship, resulting in travel to study in France.
At Kings, Mr. Bremner has taken an interest rather greater than that shown by the majority of Principals, in Outdoor affairs. Himself a hiker, tramper and naturelover rather than a mountaineer, he has encouraged to the full Kings High School’s use of facilities at Tautuku, Aspiring and elsewhere – and was far from the slowest to clamber up and back down the hill behind the Aspiring site.
Though Mr and Mrs Bremner hailed from the North Island, they have been converted and intend staying in the South, at Wingatui. At the moment, there is no intention of having on the almost traditional “round the world tour.” But all options are being held open, even to the Beekeeping hobby increasing to a semi-commercial scale, to help fill in(?) the long·hours of retirement.
In a fifteen year period, changes take place in any organisation – necessarily so, if it is not to stagnate -and a School is no real exception. Staff come and go, as do pupils. Yet with regard to pupils, “plus qu’ ils changent, plus qu’ ils sont la merre chose.” Human nature alters but little. Numbers have varied considerably over the peniod , reflecting mainly the changing pattern of occupation of our “catchment area.” The declining roll may have resulted in some sports teams not being up to the standard of previous years (though this is debatable) but it has meant that it has become possible to know boys as indlviduals rather than ‘en masse’.
As intakes increase, which is now happening, and the roll climbs back up, care will need to be taken that King’s reputation as a concerned, caring School is kept and not obliterated by more numbers.
One obvious change in Mr. Bremner’ s time is the amount of construction that has gone on. Lab 4, the William’s Room, the Technical Block, the Squash Courts and Room 18 are external and obvious, but internal changes too have been extensive . Outside, the raising of the Lower Ground and extension of the runback of the Tennis Courts have added considerably to our sporting facilities.
It may be that the most significant change affecting Kings that took place during Mr. Bremner’s Rectorship, is one which is not immediately obvious. It is the obtaining by Kings of its own Board of Govenors. Whereas ordginalIy the school was but one of a number administered by the Otago High Schools’ Board, we have matured and now stand independent, in control of our own destiny.
Mr Bremner initiated many of these changes, and supported to the full the efforts made to bring them all to completion. These he can look back on as material changes he has helped bring to fruition, but there is no doubt that looking back over the last fifteen years , the main satisfaction will ccme from contemplating the influence he and Kings have had on the hundreds of pupils who attended the school in that time.
School Magazine 1981
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