The recent passing of Jack Bremner came as a shock to many. Although he was 96 years old, it seemed Jack would go on forever. He was that sort of character; one who always had things to do, to complete.
In retrospect, his 16 years at King’s seems but a moment in his life, but it was a most important moment for the school.
Jack came to King's from Auckland Grammar and took up the position of the school’s third Rector in 1966. He held the position for sixteen years until he retired.
They were quite tumultuous times. Jack arrived just as the flower power days burst forth. In his time, he contended with all the changes society was undergoing and did so with understanding, good grace and a fine sense of humour. Hair got longer, the uniform changed, and attitudes to authority came under scrutiny. Jack remained steadfast; he was no Luddite, but determined to be one step behind change and never in front of it. A most insightful position.
For Jack, the challenges as Rector kept coming. It was not only a time of societal but also of educational change and a time of management change for King’s. With determined parents behind him, he began the fight for King's own Board – a long, drawn out, acrimonious process – which took a great deal out of him, but was eventually successful. When the roll was under pressure he was there supporting the new style open afternoons and evenings that King’s initiated. What he began was continued after him and the school rose to a position of prominence again.
His relationships with the boys was always positive. He went out of his way to be fair to all; to listen and contemplate. To understand his students. And they responded to this.
With the staff he was at all times supportive and helpful. He dealt with disagreement patiently and was open to good argument. He pushed for change to the curriculum, opened up new subject areas and gave to his young teachers freedom to pursue new ideas.
Gentleman Jack. Old-school Jack. Major Jack. He believed in a world of respect for others and love for all.
All who worked with Jack in his time at King’s will remember a man who gave his all to the school.
His portrait hangs proudly in the school foyer.