Tokoroa man makes QB honours list
Douglas Blair began his career in Tokoroa as a primary school teacher at Tokoroa East School.
The 80 year old still remembers the day another teacher asked if he wanted to sign up to performing arts.
‘‘Back then, in the 1950s and ‘60s, it was a fancy name, The Tokoroa Dramatic Society Club, like a drama club.
‘‘I went along, auditioned and got a part in the play – although I can’t remember what it was called – and that sparked the interest, and I’ve been interested ever since.’’
Today, Blair is being recognised for his contribution to the community and services to theatre, spanning more than 50 years.
He is one of the handful of Waikato people selected for the Queen’s Birthday Honours for 2016. He didn’t expect it. ‘‘I have no idea where or how this came about, to be honest with you. My children were up here, and I just couldn’t keep it to myself.
‘‘I swore them to secrecy about a week ago, but I’ve known for a couple of months, but didn’t tell a soul.’’
Blair was the president of the Tokoroa Little Theatre for over 20 years, and has directed for over 30 shows at the theatre and school productions. He is still involved in productions with the Tokoroa Little Theatre and tries to produce three or four a year.
‘‘We had to work hard – and we still have to work – to get people to come along, but we’ve got a core of regular attendees.
‘‘It’s pleasing to see that we’re getting more and more young people in, too, as it is mainly an older group that watches the live plays.’’
He said the arts are alive.
‘‘I think it’s very important to have another branch of culture in the town, like theatre. It’s good to have a live theatre and musical shows, and this is what we try to provide.’’
Blair taught at a few schools in Tokoroa, as well as teaching for a bit in the UK, before he retired as principal of Cargill School. He currently sits on community boards tied to the arts and is also a member of the Lions Club and Tokoroa Club.
Douglas Blair, 80, received a Queen’s Service Medal for services to the community and theatre.