Sir Graham's 'most important job'

03:51, Dec 14 2012
Graham Henry
LONG CAREER: Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry has been honoured for his secondary school teaching.

Sir Graham Henry was honoured for his contributions off the field at today's University of Canterbury graduation ceremony.

Alongside hundreds of students, the former All Blacks coach received an honorary Doctor of Education degree - an award that paid tribute to his long career in secondary school teaching before he became known as the face of New Zealand rugby.

Addressing the crowd, Henry said he was ''privileged'' to be awarded the degree as teaching had been ''the most important job'' he had ever done.

''I've been involved in education for 40 years - 25 years in a formal sense ... and the last 10 years educating young men to be better athletes,'' he said.

''You had the opportunity to change people's lives whether you were trying to do it or not, because you were a role model and people followed what you did.''

Before taking up the All Blacks coaching job in 2004, Henry had taught in secondary schools in Christchurch and Auckland.

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After gaining a diploma in secondary teaching at the former Christchurch College of Education (now the University of Canterbury's College of Education), Henry taught at Christchurch Boys' High School, Auckland Grammar and Kelston Boys' High.

He was headmaster of Kelston before he took up rugby coaching fulltime in 1996.

Henry told today's graduates to ''keep learning on the way, and keep evolving and getting better", as he had after the All Blacks' quarterfinal loss at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

''Never give up on your dreams and never stop learning and understanding yourself,'' he said.

The Press