by Chuck Stanley
Dawson Tamatea was a PE and mathematics teacher at Palmerston North Boys’ High School in New Zealand. One of the most beloved teachers at the PNBHS, Mr. Tamatea died unexpectedly at age 55, passing away while sleeping. Mr. Tamatea had been teaching at physical education and mathematics at the school for for almost 30 years.
In his honor, the entire student body of 1,700 turned out to perform a traditional Haka at his funeral.
The Haka is a traditional Maori ritual. Originally a war dance to intimidate an enemy, it has become popular before sporting events. When a Haka is done at a funeral for the deceased, it is a sign of the highest respect.
In an interview, Headmaster David Bovey said, “Dawson had a fantastic relationship with the boys and the staff at the school. He will leave a huge hole here.”
Just how big a hole can be seen by the power and emotion the 1,700 strong student body puts into the Haka for Mr. Tamatea.
Requiescat in pace, Mr. Tamatea.