Richard Howitt

1966 to 1970

Richard attended Matamata College from 1966 to 1970 and in his final year was the Deputy Headboy and missed Proxime Accessit by 1 mark behind Kate and the incredible Seegar (Dux) In his SC year he gained the top score with 331 and F6 gained UE and F7 Bursary.


Richard was a true all-round sportsman. He played Table-tennis with the famous Joe boys and was Bay of Plenty Junior Champion and Doubles champion with Mervyn in 1966. He played four years in the 1st XI Cricket and 1st XI Football (soccer) teams and was captain of both teams in 1970. Soccer had not been a recognised sport at the College – students played for Matamata Swifts. But, with England winning the FIFA World Cup in 1966, soccer became more popular and in 1967 the first official school teams were formed and coached by Hugh Grant. Richard was a Waikato Rep player in 1968. Richard was a member of the athletics team from 1966-1970, and Senior Champion in 1970. On the cultural side he had a lead part in the production “1066 and All That”, and with Lousie, Marion and Kate wrote an infamous and short lived (3 editions) student mag called “Home Brew”. Richard remembers the important influences that some key teachers had in encouraging his life-long love of Geography and the Environment : Gerry O’Carroll at Intermediate, and Dave Stanley and Geoff Burridge at College.


Richard graduated from Waikato University in 1975 with a B Soc Sc (Hons) majoring in Geography with First Class Honours. The following year he graduated from Christchurch with a Diploma in Teaching (Distinction).


Richard’s teaching career began with three years at Burnside High School teaching Geography and Social Studies.From there it was an extensive OE through Asia the Middle East and Europe, taking in 48 countries. During this time Richard taught for a year at Jewish Free School in London. Back in NZ he held a teaching position at Hillmorton High School for 24 years including a period as Acting Assistant Principal. From 2007 he has had a change of direction and is a Company Director at Cherry’s (his wife) Early Learning Centre Ltd in Christchurch. His daily work is mostly in property maintenance.


Richard and family have tramped all the South Island Great Walks plus many others. He has travelled with football, volleyball and cross country teams, including trips to Australia and Chile. After the children had grown up he and Cherry have travelled to many parts of South America, Africa and North America – 70 countries now and still counting!


Richard has a love of the great outdoors and plans to continue with photography, tramping, mountain-biking, travelling and kayak-fishing at Opito Bay. On one mountain-biking excursion Richard managed a double forward flip which earned him a helicopter flight from the Port Hills to Christchurch Hospital!


Richard married in 1975 and his wife Cherry was also a Geography teacher. She has two Early Learning Centres operating as Enviroschools in Beckenham and Hoon-Hay. They have four adult children, with nine University degrees between them. All four are competent in Spanish.

Amelia (1982) is an Emergency Care Doctor at Dunedin Hospital. She had a year at Alice Springs Hospital.

Camden (1983) is a Manager at Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust in Auckland. He spent a year at Uni in Mexico.

Josephine (1985) is a Sustainable Transport Planner in Ottawa, Canada. She had a year at High School in France.

Oliver (1987) is a Pricing Analyst at Powershop in Wellington. His second degree was in Energy Management.


Some of you from the 1960’s and 70’s will remember Richard’s mother Pearl who was the School Nurse here at Matamata College for many years.