Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Eulogy (John Morris)

I first met Andrew Pullan in 2005 when he joined the Board of Trustees of Auckland Grammar School. Many of you here today may have been surprised that, at that time, Andrew accepted the offer of a place on the Board because he had no previous contact with the school and was new to the area. And indeed Andrew was very different to the rest of the Board.

The first point of difference was that Andrew was a South Auckland boy who attended Aorere College; whereas the Board (apart from me) were heartland Grammar Zone and all old boys, except one other who was a King’s Old Collegian. At least however, Andrew and I had something in common, having been brought up in South Auckland and West Auckland respectively.

At the time of his induction onto the Board therefore, Andrew had absolutely no knowledge or understanding about Auckland Grammar School (before his son Zeke started), whereas the rest of the Board were imbued with the Grammar philosophy and the Grammar way of doing things.

Andrew in fact had been nominated for the Board by retiring member, Julie Maxton, then Dean of Law School at the University of Auckland, to continue the strong link between the Auckland Grammar School Board and the University. The university have always had a representative on our Board marking the fact that when the University started in the early 1880’s it was allied to Auckland Grammar School.

In those days Auckland Grammar School was called Auckland College and Grammar School. This connection has long been seen as significant by both institutions. But initially to Andrew it was all a bit of a mystery! And it did take him some time to get to grips with the ‘Grammar Way’.

On top of all this there was Andrew’s dress sense. Board meetings at Auckland Grammar School were invariably formal – suit and tie in general. I will never forget Andrew’s first Board meeting – he turned up in a brightly coloured polo shirt, walk shorts which were, well, quite short, running shoes and mid-length sox. Despite all the jibes he got, Andrew never buckled and stuck to his own dress code throughout his years on the Board.

Regardless of all these fundamental differences, Andrew grew to love the Board, the debates and the people on the Board, and he loved the School, especially once Zeke started at Grammar. And the Board in turn grew to enjoy Andrew and respect his viewpoint, which was, as you can imagine, at times quite different.

Once Zeke started at Grammar in 2008, Andrew really began to understand and appreciate the school and he was so proud of Zeke’s academic success at Grammar and the good mates he made at school, many of whom are here today.

Andrew particularly enjoyed his involvement with the Grammar Rowing Club of which Zeke is a member. Although not a rower himself, I think Andrew felt a great affinity with the sport because of the qualities needed to be successful in it: commitment, dedication, team work, strength, fitness and camaraderie – all things Andrew himself believed strongly in. His presence at regattas was much appreciated by the rowing club.

From my perspective, I enjoyed having Andrew on the Board and getting to know him better. In some ways Andrew was the conscience of the Board, raising matters that had previously been ignored and others that challenged the Board on different levels. From initially being a good listener on the Board, he soon became an integral, highly valued and contributing member.

Having Andrew on the Board also enabled us to get to know Patti and that has been a real joy for us, and I certainly hope that Patti and the School will stay in close contact.

Since Andrew’s illness we have really missed his presence round the Board table. I know how much he will be missed at the University but he will also leave a gaping hole on our Board.

Andrew Pullan was a fine man, taken far too young. He was a wonderful father and husband, a man of conscience, intellect and integrity. His optimism and bravery, evident throughout his illness, were inspirational.

On behalf of Auckland Grammar School I want to thank Patti for sharing Andrew with us on the Board. We have all benefited greatly from knowing him.

Per Angusta Ad Augusta


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