2 Minutes with ...


Bruce Murray is perhaps one of Tawa's most "prominent" figures. A Wikipedia page on Tawa, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawa,_New_Zealand, includes him in its list of four "Notable residents and former residents" of Tawa, due to the fact that he is a former New Zealand cricket representative. In more recent times he was principal of Tawa College for 13 years before retiring in 2002.

Today Bruce Murray is the driving force behind the Tawa Historical Society and has worked with the Wellington City Council to see recognition given to points of historical interest in Tawa, including the new heritage sign outside the library. He has authored a number of books published by the society, including "The Streets of Tawa", "Best of Tawa", "Lest Tawa Forgets" and "Rails Through the Valley". And it probably won't be long before the next one is out ...

Where were you born, Bruce?
Johnsonville - in a community maternity home in Fraser Cres, when it used to be the Old Porirua Road.

Where did you grow up?
From ages 1 to 6 in Napier, then Lower Hutt where I lived till I got married (apart from time away at university).

What high school/university did you go to?
Hutt Valley High School; three years at Victoria University doing degree in Geography which was completed at Canterbury University (M.A. in Geography). One year at Christchurch Teachers' College.

What was your line of work prior to retirement?
Teacher and secondary school principal. Started at Hutt Valley High School (1964-65), Tawa College 1966-77 ("I couldn't believe the difference when I came to Tawa College"), Head of Social Studies by time I left Tawa College. Went to Naenae College as deputy principal in 1977, appointed principal after three years. Back to Tawa College as principal in 1989. Retired from there at end of first term in 2002.

What about family?
Married to Shona. We have 3 daughters, 1 son, and 8 grandchildren.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Local history, family history [he showed me a book he had compiled of his own family's history, but that was only Volume 1 - Ed.], garden railway, golf, cricket, furniture making - "I made furniture for all our kids."

When interrogated more about the cricket: represented Wellington 1958-73, played for New Zealand five years, 1967-71, under captain Graham Dowling. Travelled to Australia, England, Pakistan and India as opening batsman - "had to deal with the fiery, fast bowlers."

How long have you lived in Tawa?
From August 1964.

What do you think is great about Tawa?
Its history, its community spirit, its village atmosphere, its schools - "... that, I think, is a major reason for people coming here still. They're all good, the college, the intermediate, the primary schools."

What, if anything, would improve Tawa?
"A wider appreciation of its past so as to build well for the future." The kind of things the Council is doing now like plaques in the ground, improvements in the cemetery, the heritage sign outside the library, and what they've done at Willowbank.

What is your favourite dessert?
An iced berry thing my wife makes. "I just love that!"

Favourite sportsperson?
Don Bradman - "he's the man!" "Between him and all other cricketers, there is daylight!" That's what the Aussies say about him, and they're right.

Favourite musical groups/style of music?
Choral music, by whomsoever - Dawn Chorus (Tawa College), Vocal FX (Wellington), St Michael Singers of Coventry, Libra (English boys' choir).

Favourite holiday destination in New Zealand?
Hahei Beach (Coromandel). "We used to go there for family holidays, wonderful!"

Favourite sayings?
"You can't score runs when you are back in the pavilion." (If you're not in the action, you can't do anything. I used to say to the kids at school: "Stay in the exam room to the bitter end. You never know what you might think of.")
And "He who would be the greatest among you, let him be the servant of all."

If you could meet any three people (alive or dead), who would they be?
C S Lewis; David Shepherd (English cricketer and Bishop of Liverpool); Barack Obama.

What three things would you take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
My old Bible ("full of handwritten notes from the last 50 years"), basic carpentry tools, my glasses.

What is one talent you would like that you do not have?
I would like to be able to play the piano proficiently. "When I was 14, it was cricket practice 3, music practice 0."

What is one talent you have that you could not do without?
I don't see it as a great talent, but I enjoy writing.

What accomplishments/achievements in your life give you the most satisfaction/pride?
Being a teacher for 40 years. "Teaching is a high calling and an honoured position."

What are three things you would like to do before you die?
Complete the family history I am writing.
See a great-grandchild (or two, or three!)

Other Tawa people