'Mr Lucas' has been the principal at Tawa College, a highly-regarded decile 9 secondary school, since 2002. Tawa born and bred, he keeps gravitating back to this neck of the woods despite periods away. This is where he both works and lives.
Murray Lucas is very much a hands-on principal and an incredibly busy one at that. He is a very caring person who endeavours to see the best in all his 1400+ students, as well as trying to know most of them by name. Going out of his way to encourage and support them, Murray attends most College functions including the Years 9 and 10 dances and the 'Formal', also sports matches, music events, drama events, etc. He is a coach of one of the debating teams, and has even been seen refereeing the occasional football match.
We are privileged to have him at the helm of 'our College'. And he gets extra brownie points for having got along to several of the "community pot luck meals" the Tawa Community Centre has hosted in the past 18 months!
Where were you born, Murray?
Where did you grow up?
I lived in Tawa for my first 21 years - with my parents at 39 Duncan St till age 17 - then in Wilmshurst Place. I lived right across the road from the College when it was being built, and had 100m to get to school.
What about college and tertiary education?
Tawa College student 1966-70, Victoria University 1971-74 - MSc (Hons), Christchurch Teachers' College 1975.
What is your your line of work (although we suspect we already know the answer)?
"I've been in education all my life." Started teaching career at Tawa College in 1976. There until 1981 teaching maths, science, chemistry, physics, applied maths. Head of Economics by the time I left. Naenae College 1982-87. Hutt Valley High 1988-96 (acting deputy principal just before I left). Deputy principal and principal of Horowhenua College 1996-2002. Principal of Tawa College since April 2002.
What about family?
Married to Margaret with two sons, Caleb & Nathanael.
What are your interests/hobbies?
Always been passionate about all sports, both watching and participating, especially football, cricket and golf. I like tramping and stamp collecting. Another thing I quite enjoy doing is cryptic crosswords. (At this point he pulls a sample cryptic crossword out of his back pocket - Ed.). Also my family and church, and I have a heart for youth activities.
How long have you lived in Tawa?
A total of 36 years.
What do you think is great about Tawa?
I think it's got the best of community and village life but close to a city. Community involvement and support for the schools, children and young people in Tawa is fantastic, e.g. the Schools' & Community Festival is unique to Tawa. Sports clubs are well supported by parents and other interested community-minded people, and there are good church youth groups, etc.
What, if anything, would improve Tawa?
Some sort of facility like a drop-in centre for young people. Also a strategic plan to deal with non-engaged families in the Tawa community so that issues like graffiti do not become such a problem.
What is your favourite dessert?
Dead heat between cheesecake and fruit salad.
Favourite sports team?
Ipswich Town Football Club in England (Ipswich won the English league title in 1961-62, the FA Cup in 1978, and the UEFA Cup in 1981 - Ed.)
Favourite sports person?
Both Eric Liddell and Nick Willis - good athletes with strong moral values/principles.
Favourite musical group?
Simon and Garfunkel - not only great sound but excellent lyrics.
Favourite holiday destination(s) in New Zealand?
St Arnaud - Nelson Lakes National Park. Walking the Heaphy Track and the Abel Tasman Coastal Walkway.
The verse containing "Do Justly" (the College motto). Micah 6 verse 8: "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
If you could meet any four people (alive or dead), who would they be?
Martin Luther King; Nelson Mandela; Mother Teresa; William Wilberforce.
What three things would you take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
My family, good books (ranging from the Bible to crime novels, e.g. Agatha Christie & Ruth Rendell), golf clubs - "I could make a golf course."
What is one talent you would like that you do not have?
The ability to be a bit more daredevillish, to be more of an adrenalin junkie, willing to do things like bungy jumping.
What is one talent you have that you could not do without?
I think it's a talent - "providing encouragement".
What accomplishments/achievements in your life give you the most satisfaction/pride?
Completing the Oxfam 100 kilometre walk around the Taupo area last year.
The Teach-athon over 28 hours in May which raised money for the World Vision 40-hour Famine. 38 kids stayed the distance.
Being part of a College that "turns young people around".
What are three things you would like to do before you die?
Do an 'Emma Daken' and walk the length of New Zealand, probably not using major highways but scenic routes.
To play every golf course in New Zealand whether it's a major city course or a minor rural one.
To make an impact on my grandchildren (which I don't have yet!).
Compiled July 2009. Up-to-date as at November 2010.