Blazing a trail for guys to be teachers
He cuts an imposing silhouette above the playground, and trainee teacher David Wynyard has won the respect and adoration of pupils and teachers.
At 17, the former Hornby High School head boy is blazing a trail for young men.
Wynyard, of Ngapuhi, is halfway through his first year of a three-year teaching and learning degree at Canterbury University's college of education.
He is the youngest in his class and one of about 12 men in a female-dominated course. He is completing his practical training at Hornby Primary School.
Principal Gary Roberts is singing his praises.
"He has fitted in very easily; he is always outside at break times interacting with the children, helping them, playing games and just being genuine," he said.
"The kids say he takes a real interest, and he explains things in a way they can understand."
It was Wynyard's Hornby Rugby Club coach who suggested he become a teacher, while on tour in Australia in 2010.
"I'm good with the younger kids," Wynyard said. "And I didn't want to take a gap year that turns into four gap years. Going straight from school to uni, I was already in that learning mode."
Wynyard wanted to stay in Hornby to give back to the community that had given him so much. He was a school leader and played for the rugby, basketball, indoor netball and volleyball teams.
"I've been through low-decile schools all my life. I like being here. The kids are real, and that attitude comes from home."
Wynyard said people often judged lower-decile schools and areas unfairly, when in reality most pupils were genuine and hard-working.
"My mum always told me to treat people how you'd like to be treated," he said.
"Even if you don't take a liking to someone, you should treat them with respect, say hi and ask how their day is."
- © Fairfax NZ News