Tim celebrates life at school
Tim Couling, 54, father, grandfather, husband, principal at Okaihau Primary School.
What do you like best about the Far North?
It’s the people, I really like the people. I find the people in the Far North are very friendly, and very welcoming, in such a wide variety of settings. There are so many talented people up here hidden away and you don’t know about them, in little communities like this or anywhere.
How long have you lived here and where are you originally from?
I’ve lived in Kerikeri and Okaihau since 1979, so I’m almost a local. Prior to that, I did my early schooling in Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast, near Wellington.
What do you like least and how can we fix it?
I think the worst thing is the roads, because if they fix the roads, that could help fix employment, because it seems our main industries are too limited. Either farming or forestry for people leaving school to go into. When you travel south of Auckland, you realise what roads should be like and then the South Island is incredible. The other thing with our talented people I’ve
‘‘If they fix the roads, that could help fix employment.’’
always said the local rugby talent is the best I’ve seen, but unfortunately, I think alcohol and drugs have made a huge impact not only on sports but on our whole society up here.
What’s your favourite eatery?
At home, I love Lynne’s cooking, but if we are going to go out for something to eat we would go to the Cafe Cinema with Mats. We thoroughly enjoy his food. Your highlight of the week? The fun times at school, and seeing those eyes that light up in the children here at Okaihau Primary. I enjoy going to taekwondo, I’m training towards my fifth dan. Also seeing the kids and being with my family.
Who is the Kiwi you most admire?
One of them is Taekwondo Master Paul McPhail from Auckland, because of his dedication to a martial art from when he was 13. Now he is one of the world leaders, and co-leading an organisation with 4000 members in NZ, which is always ranked in the top three in the world in taekwondo. And a few of those world champs have come from up here - both of my daughters have won medals at world champs, and it has taken us all over the world. Also how he has dealt with adversity in his own life. My wife Lynne, is such a talented lady. She has worked for a long time with children with special needs, and is now working with the deaf community teaching herself sign language, and she is a taekwondo widow, since I’m away about 10 hours a week.
The spot in Northland I’d recommend is?
I really like Inlet Rd, it takes you down to some beautiful beaches, and you can launch a boat depending on the tide, not that I have any time to go fishing.
If I were Far North mayor I’d…
Search out all those amazing people who are doing incredible things in the Far North and make sure their stories are told and highlighted. There are some amazing people, like the ones who live completely off the grid. I think it is important those stories are shared.
When I’ve got a few free hours, I like to...
Work on the family farm, and working away by myself whatever it is, it takes my mind space away from school and everything. It’s thoroughly enjoyable. I would also like to spend time with my granddaughter Lily.
Tim Couling says the best thing about the Far North is the friendly, welcoming people.