Peter Harrison QSO

Peter Harrison QSO (1934-2011)

Former Motutapu Restoration Trustee
Former Chair of the Motutapu Foundation


The following are a collection of tributes to Peter


Mary Flaws, Motutapu Restoration Trustee and Chair of Education Committee

Sadly, Peter Harrison passed away on 12 April 2011. His funeral service was held on April 16th in the Chapel of the Holy Child at Kings School, Remuera. The Trust acknowledges Peter's huge passion and desire for young people to be inspirted by their learning. He understood the power of education to transform people and places. In his role as Trustee and Foundation Chair, Peter desired to leave a legacy of student involvement in the restoration work on Motutapu. He made great efforts to build relationships with schools, particularly low-decile schools such as Redoubt North Primary, to offer learning opportunities at and for Motutapu. Together with King's School and Beca, Peter had a vision for a Centre for Sustainability for all students on Motutapu. He was also interested in offering students leadership opportunities. Peter authored business plans for the Foundation and assisted in applications for funding to bring the Trust's plans to life. He also got great pleasure at helping in events such as the multisport event, the Dual, held annually on Rangitoto and Motutapu in March. Peter's enthusisatic support will be sorely missed by trustees both at meetings and out on the island. Our thoughts are with Peter's family.

Kings School website

April 12 2011 - The whole school family today mourns the loss of one of our most treasured Old Boys, Peter Harrison. Peter came to King's as a student in 1944 and has been a champion of the school ever since. Most notably Peter was Chairman of the Board for 20 years from 1982 to 2002, but as well as this he has served on the Old Boys' Association Executive, the Foundation Executive, the Anglican Schools of New Zealand Board, the Independent Schools Council, and most recently as Patron of the Friends of King's School and as an enthusiastic volunteer of the Archives Department. In 2009 Peter was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours with a QSO for Services to Education. Peter has been a friendly face and ambassador to King's School for all of his life and will be missed immensely by us all. Our heartfelt condolences go to his family at this time.

Excerpts from the eulogy delivered at the Chapel of the Holy Child at Kings School,
Remuera on 16 April 2011
Kings School chairman of the Board, Simon Moore SC

......His understanding of the importance of sport and recreation led Peter to direct his considerable energy into other areas of interest whether that was the development of sporting facilities at Kings School or for the benefit of less well endowed schools or children. His wonderful work with the Motutapu Restoration Trust and the Motutapu Foundation (which he chaired) was but one example of Peter's vision and energy. He had the vision to see a unique opportunity to educate kids of all backgrounds in outdoor recreation and the importance of understanding conservation and sustainability. He saw the opportunity which Motutapu presented through its proximity to Auckland.

.....Peter not only had the vision but he also had the energy to help make it work. He did it with his trademark patience. It was not straightforward, but only someone with Peter's quiet and sincere perseverance could have managed it. He alienated no one. His charm and optimism pulled the diverse team together and while the Trust work is still far from finished there are a number of completed projects which are fitting legacies of Peter's contribution

... But what of Peter Harrison the man? What is it that made him the incomparable success he was in so many roles? It all goes back to those core qualities we all so loved and admired in the man. He could mix effortlessly in any company. He was nothing if not gregarious. He had that uncanny knack of drawing people together, whoever they might be, and harnessing them to work alongside each other happily and co-operatively.

.... No tribute to Peter Harrison would be complete without reference to the incalculable contribution he has made to education, both at Kings School and the wider community.

....So it is hardly surprising that in June 2009, Peter was awarded a QSO for his services to education. That a labour government saw fit to confer a Royal Honour on New Zealand's foremost champion of private, independent education is no small recognition of his prodigious contribution.