Tribute to Brian Joyce

“Where the bloody hell are ya!”

In one of his last sessions with his National certificate class Brian couldn’t find his students as the class room allocation had been changed overnight. Brian giggled, stayed put and sent out the text.

Educational excellence was a mantra with him and he was proud talking about the “Doctor in his home”, his wife Rose, and I know he liked wearing his Masters orange hood at our graduation ceremonies. I liked the class which it gave to the Whitireia Diploma Journalism course.

Always to the forefront was his politics – a leftie with liberal leanings – he would have a socialist answer to life’s woes. ‘Out, out dam capitalism’ he would rasp with glee. I joined ASTE after talking to him.

His illness came suddenly. One week he was wearing Lycra and biking to work. He felt good and was getting ready for his double hip operation. I was to fill in for him while he had the operation and rested.

His recovery seemed remarkable, fast even. He came back early then just as suddenly we got the news he was very ill and tests later proved he needed treatment for bowel cancer.

I’ll not dwell on his illness – he certainly would not.

I enjoyed hearing his reflections where he put his past into perspective.

His stories could leave you in stitches or tears. Often past pupils would turn up out of the blue or he would get an email from them.
And yes he always put his students first. He cared about them.

As for the tears, well I felt them when he carried around a snapshot of his new mokopuna (born overseas) and one he hoped he would get to see.

I will remember a man who could wear pink and pull if off, who loved stylish braces and cotton drill trousers, and most of all a man who could write a perfect sentence.

No reira haere atu ra e hoa. Haere ki to tipuna tuarangi.

Farewell my friend. Go forth and join your illustrious ancestors.


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