TGHS pioneer to re­tire af­ter 37 years with school


When elec­tronic type­writ­ers first ar­rived at Ti­maru Girls’ High School (TGHS) in the early 1980s, they were greeted with sus­pi­cion.

The women em­ployed in the school of­fice had worked hard at de­vel­op­ing their short-hand typ­ing skills, ‘‘so when the first Golf­ball Elec­tric type­writer ar­rived, the ladies were very sus­pi­cious,’’ TGHS ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Caro­line Collins said. She should know: she was one of them.

Af­ter 37 years with the school, Collins, 65, will re­tire in July.

‘‘I have had a huge bond with the school from be­ing a stu­dent and a staff mem­ber,’’ she said.

In 1980, Collins’ youngest daugh­ter had just started at Sa­cred Heart School and Collins was ready to go back to work.

‘‘I needed some­thing to stim­u­late the ol’ brain mat­ter,’’ she said.

Prin­ci­pal Rae Wil­son ‘‘took a punt’’ and ap­pointed Collins to a part-time role in the of­fice.

When prin­ci­pal Anna Hob­day and deputy Nor­man Hal­stead later had a vi­sion of cre­at­ing a sep­a­rate re­pro­graphic cen­tre for

‘‘I have had a huge bond with the school from be­ing a stu­dent and a staff mem­ber.’’

the school, ‘‘it was my priv­i­lege, of set­ting it up’’, Collins said.

She typed up all the teach­ers’ work­sheets and exam pa­pers, and dealt with all printed ma­te­ri­als, ‘‘the whole nine yards’’.

Collins said she ap­pre­ci­ated the school’s for­ward-thinking ap­proach to tech­nol­ogy, and en­joyed be­ing a part of it.

‘‘I was re­ally lucky, I was at the fore­front of all of that.’’

She as­sem­bled the school magazine, and even­tu­ally evolved the re­pro­graphic cen­tre to us­ing coloured card and pa­per, ‘‘like a copy cen­tre does now’’.

In 1990, school bur­sar Bette Stuart re­tired.

Collins ap­plied and was ap­pointed bur­sar and prin­ci­pal’s sec­re­tary.

At the time the school was send­ing all its in­voices and fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments to a busi­ness in Christchurch for pro­cess­ing, but in about 1993 it brought the ac­counts in-house, and Collins be­came ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, a role she has held since then, though she noted it had be­come more of a busi­ness man­ager’s role over time.

She said she had

‘‘re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated’’ the peo­ple she had worked with. ‘‘I’m go­ing to miss this place. ‘‘It’s been a part of my daily rou­tine for a long time.’’

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