Thomas Fillans (Tom) Kennedy

My father, Thomas Fillans (Tom) Kennedy, passed away on Christmas Eve, 24 December 2014 in Blenheim, Marlborough, NZ. We had his service on the Edwin Fox one of the last surviving ships that brought immigrants to NZ.

A book has recently been published by Nikau Press, Nelson NZ called "Teak and Tide" if people are interested.  It was involved in the Crimean War and later helped establish the frozen meat trade to England from NZ. It sits at Dunbar Wharf in Picton under cover with a purpose-built museum alongside. My mother and father spent over 20 years as volunteers helping to save the ship and for a number of years my father was on the Board of Management. He was also the secretary/treasurer of the Ngakuta Bay Boating Club for 25 years and was involved in a number of other organisations. He was a very community-minded person after he retired (as above), and kept active. He continued to play tennis and golf and go fishing for blue cod in the Marlborough Sounds in his boat "The Rose". We all enjoyed these fishing excursions.

After leaving Ottershaw he had a long and highly regarded career in Education in New Zealand. For many years he was Inspector of Pacific Island Schools and from 1975-1981 he was Director-General of International Education (NZ). These jobs meant he travelled three to four times a year and my mother often accompanied him. Some years after he retired he wrote a memoir "An Ocean of Islands" (privately published), about his time in the Pacific.

He was at Ottershaw from 1950-51. He taught Science and Social Science and was in charge of the Young Farmers' Club which raised pigs as a pilot commercial enterprise. This included visits to local stock markets and research centre such as Rothamstead. He often talked about those young men (two in particular with the name of Big Sayles and Little Sayles (OTT166 and OTT227).  When he was Principal of Tonga College in the Pacific Islands from 1954-56 he oversaw a farm of 200 acres that principally grew food for the college boys (who also worked on the farm for 2 hours a day),.and also produced root crops, bananas, coconuts and raised dairy cows and interestingly (as noted above) pigs.

I recall we lived in a caravan when we first arrived at Ottershaw then later moved into a house next to  (or near) the Cunningham's. We also enjoyed trips to the continent in the caravan and I have a photo of my brother & myself being bathed by my mother in a  small tin bath and strolling along the canal in Venice and so on. My mother and Mary Cunningham corresponded for many years exchanging calendars and so on until Mary (I think) passed away. 

My father did enjoy being kept up-to-date with the magazine and more recently the emails. He and Tom Newnham who was at Ottershaw at a similar time were life-long friends in New Zealand.

Julie Kennedy