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BRITLAND, DOREEN MARY (BRIT) (M.A)

 

Doreen Britland was born on the 25 December 1900 at Konini, near Pahiatua, the daughter of Walter and Eleanor Sessford Britland nee Bisset.

 

Doreen won a junior boarding scholarship to Wellington Girls College, and was dux of the college in her first year.  She then won a senior scholarship that took her to Victoria College (now University) where she studied for five years, graduating with a M.A while training at the Wellington Teachers’ Training College.  After six months relieving primary school teaching, Doreen was appointed in 1924 to the Hawera Technical High School, established two years earlier.  Doreen became the longest serving teacher at Hawera High School where she taught from 1924 until 1954.  She was senior mistress from 1946 till her retirement.

 

Doreen’s specialist subjects were latin and mathematics although she was also called on to teach history, geography and English.  A superb organizer “Brit” as she was affectionately known coached several basketball (netball) teams in annual school fixtures and in local competitions, and was made a life member of the Taranaki Basketball Association in 1937.

 

Doreen was an outstanding personality during her career at the school and there will many former pupils and staff who have fond memories of her.  Her own personal character and integrity, her sympathetic and complete understanding of adolescent behaviour and her ability as a classroom teacher made her outstanding in the history of Hawera High School.  In her retirement she acted as chief supervisor of School Certificate examinations.

 

Away from schooling Doreen was also a key figure in the scouting movement in the district and for 14 years was Assistant District Commissioner for Scouting in South Taranaki.  She was especially recognised for her leadership in Cub Scouting and traveled often to Opunake, Waverley and Whangamomona.  She was honoured with the right to wear her scouting uniform for life.

 

Along with Fred Horner, Doreen shared in the leadership of the Hawera Baptist Church, which she joined in August 1924.  In 1940 she was elected treasurer of the church and did this for over 25 years.  She served as Sunday School superintendent in 1940, 1959 and from 1962-65.

 

Doreen Mary Britland died on 4 March 1986 at Hawera aged 85 years.

 

SOURCES

Obituary “Hawera Star” 6 march 1986

Interview “Hawera Star” 8 Dec 1954

Hawera High School 1919-69 Jubilee Booklet

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