2 Minutes with ...


Murray Cameron may well be the only staff member at Tawa College (other than the principal, Mr Lucas) who went to primary, intermediate and secondary schools in Tawa and is now back teaching at his old school. He is one of an esteemed number who has lived in this neck of the woods all his life, and is now head of the Music Department at a college known far and wide for its strength in music.

The above photos feature Murray very much in his element in the sound studio at school, and outside playing carols on the keyboard at "Christmas in the Cul-de-sac" in Woodman Drive in December.

Where were you born, Murray?
Wellington. My parents came out to the 'burbs (Tawa) from central Wellington before I was born.

Where did you grow up?
Tawa. Grew up in the house next to St Christopher's in the Main Road.

Where were you educated?
Tawa Primary School, Tawa Intermediate, Tawa College. Took me a long time to do my degree, B.Mus at Vic "over time", because of lots of distractions. I was running a sound company at the same time and teaching music - keyboard and clarinet in schools, the Tawa Music Centre (and at Mana) and teaching privately.

What is your line of work?
Once I got married I finished my degree, then did the year at Teachers' College at Karori. After that I started teaching at Tawa College (1999). The job description in the Gazette was very specific - for a Maths, Music and Technology teacher. As time went on I dropped the other teaching subjects to concentrate on music. I've been HoD Music since the start of 2006.

What about family?
Married to ... "the lovely and clever Wendy" with three children.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Supporting our kids in their numerous activities, family bike rides, sound and recording, music and movies. I've been coaching my boy's cricket team "not because I'm very good at cricket, but because there was no-one else to do it."

How long have you lived in Tawa?
All my life.

What do you think is great about Tawa?
A great sense of community spirit. Lots of people willing to do things for the kids/youth. So many opportunities for kids here - dancing, scouts, brownies, swimming club, etc. So much to do.

What, if anything, would improve Tawa?
A northerly wind block and a performing arts venue for theatre, dance and music. "Unrealistic dream but that's okay." Also no graffiti!

What is your favourite dessert?
Cheesecake. [Any particular flavour? - Ed.] "That New York Style."
[New York Style cheesecakes are creamy, smooth, rich, dense, and absolutely delicious ... and rely upon heavy cream - response to googling New York Style cheesecakes. Ed.]

Favourite sports team and/or sportsperson?
I don't think I have one. I have a love of cricket but no actual team or sportsperson. I can't say the Black Caps are my favourite. I followed the [recent] Ashes matches more than the Black Caps.

Favourite musical group or style of music?
I can listen to most music. "Love everything really." Elton John is the Schubert of our time. "I think he's amazing." But he, Beethoven, Berlioz [19th Century French Romantic composer], "they're all a bit different - that's often what makes their music stand out from everyone else's."

Favourite holiday destination in New Zealand?
Any camping ground near a beach. We try to take the tent out with the kids sometime every Christmas holidays. The Bay of Islands and Hahei (Coromandel) are two of our favourites. Also camped by a river near Martinborough.

Favourite quote(s) or saying(s)?
"The light bulb was not an invention that I failed at 1000 times, it was an invention with 1001 steps." - from Thomas Edison but 'edited' by me.
"No worries." - from Hakuna Matata in The Lion King.

If you could meet any two or three people (alive or dead), who would they be?
Elton John; George Martin (the "fifth Beatle" who really shaped them, their recording engineer and producer); Nelson Mandela.

What three things would you take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
Laptop and microphone for recording sounds. "I could make up a composition of sounds from my surroundings."
Sky TV but leaving the rugby at home. "I gave up following rugby about six years ago. I switch the radio on in the summer to listen to the cricket."

What is one talent you would like that you do not have?
To be a better orator, to be able to speak off the cuff better.

What is one talent you have that you could not do without?
The ability to stay positive.

What accomplishments/achievements in your life give you much satisfaction/pride?
For me it is all about supporting others to be great or to discover unknown talents about themselves.
And becoming HoD of one of the best music departments in New Zealand.

What are two or three things you would like to do before you die?
Raft the Grand Canyon.
Attend a test match at Lords.
Go to the Australian Open. "That would be outstanding." I used to do sound for the tennis tournaments that came through Wellington.

Compiled January 2011.

Other Tawa people