Hero photograph
Photo by Michelle Pinkney

Pauline Grogan-Henderson

Anja Naughton —

In September this year we lost a great lady in the Learning Enhancement Department.

Teacher, Head of Department and cherished friend Pauline Grogan-Henderson passed away in hospital, weeks after she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Pauline leaves behind husband Bill, children Emma, Tom and Alex. Grandchildren Molly and Gus, Harry and Jack. And so, so many friends.

Pauline’s career in education was long, and she spent the last five of those here at Te Kura o Hine Waiora. What many may not know is that Pauline was a past student of Christchurch Girls’ High School. Last year, she graduated from Canterbury University with a Masters Degree in Education. This is something she’d worked many years toward, and of which she was very proud. She was a great role model for lifelong learning not just to our students, but to all of us.

While Pauline put great thought and effort into inspiring her learners with examples of success, she also went to great lengths to help our most vulnerable learners to reach their own success. She often worked in the weekends, at night time, and during the holidays to go over records, process applications, and clear the never ending ‘to-do pile’. This could have been done during the day but there were not enough hours for teaching, connecting with, and making arrangements that would assist our akonga (learners), and would have been at their expense - something she did not want compromised.

She inspired us to do the same, always leading by example, encouraging our initiatives with the students, providing a steadfast foundation of support for any conflicts, issues or worries - whether these stemmed from our professional work, or personal lives.

Pauline was passionate about raising up others and had a gift for making everyone around her feel comfortable, feel heard, and feel like they mattered. She honed in on the essence of people and celebrated it. This we did often in LE, over coffee and treats from Bakermans, or the oaty cookies with the white chocolate ‘yoghurt’ squiggles on the top - which we all agreed were quite good for supermarket cookies, and probably ‘good for us’ as they had oats in them.

This year if she could, bar Covid restrictions, she would have been on the Graduation stage in her gown, and applauded our learners at 

The photo above is of Pauline after her graduation, and her favourite poem is below, along with one of her favourite whakatauki.

"Whaia e koe ki te iti kahurangi; ki te tuohu koe, me maunga teitei"

"Seek the treasure you value most dearly; if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain."


I can hear you

Making small holes in the silence


If I were deaf

The pores of my skin would open to you and shut

And I

should know you by the lick of you

If I were blind

The something special

smell of you

when the sun cakes

the ground

The steady

drum-roll sound

You make

When the wind drops

But if I

Should not hear

Smell or feel or see


you would still

define me

Disperse me

Wash over me


-Hone Tuwhare