Fri 1 Feb 2019

Margaret's farewell

WITT tutors lined up yesterday (January 31) to pay tribute to counsellor Margaret Smith, who is leaving to work closer to home.

Margaret announced her departure from WITT at the end of last year and finished this week to a series of ovations.

Colleagues – including a former student - spoke of her unstinting support for students and of enrichment and justice being her personal drivers.

Student Support Services director Zanetta Hinton, who interviewed Margaret for the job 11 years ago, said she never “just a workmate”.

She told of Margaret’s listening ear, her “pushbacks” and her common sense.

The 11 years of working together had also been marked by deaths of “too many students and colleagues and whanau”.

Zanetta said her friend was brave to pursue her own goal, setting up a counselling practice.

Her ideas at WITT had been a challenge to health and safety staff. An abseiling project went ahead –but a proposed bonfire never saw the light.

Nicola Conley said she would always remember the respect students had for her and she always knew students who went to her would grow as a result.

“You have impacted on so many lives.”

Margaret, who brought whanau and friends to the farewell at Te Piere, on WITT’s New Plymouth campus capped of the formalities by leading her audience in a rendition of Whakataka te hau.

Last month she told WITT News she loved the fact she had been confronted by such a wide range of issues impacting on the lives of young people, older people, men, women, and international students.

But going to WITT for work since early 2008, she had always driven past her own community.

She won’t anymore – her next role will be setting up her own counselling service in Waitara.