Members of the Rotary Club of Taradale were saddened to learn that one of their longest serving members had died.
Robert (Bob) Bruce Twaddle QSM passed away peacefully in Summerset surrounded by family members on the morning of the 6th July 2018, a few days short of his 94th birthday.
Bob will long be remembered as the Foundation Principal of Taradale High School. In 1969 he appointed a team of 10 talented teachers, and despite unfinished grounds and buildings, the school opened on 3rd February 1970,
By the time he retired in 1984, Taradale High School had become a co-educational high school that had gained great support from its local community as its students accumulated not only a wonderful academic record, but recorded high levels of achievement in a wide range of cultural and sporting activities.
By 1975, with Year 13 students now being prepared for Bursary and Scholarship exams (as they were then), Bob, his staff and the local community felt the school was ready for self governance and a Board of Governors was established breaking away from the Napier High Schools Board which had established the school in 1970.
Until he retired in 1984, Bob guided the school as it grew to a role of about 1000 students. A broad based curriculum was established with provision for Maori learning. Japanese was introduced early, leading later to the school attracting significant numbers of overseas students. Wide ranging activities were provided so as to allow all students to be involved away from the classroom. Academically students from the school were achieving results in national exams as good as if not better than other comparable schools in Hawkes Bay.
Without question, the establishment of a highly successful high school for the Taradale community, is and ever will be the shining beacon of Bob’s illustrious career.
Bob was born in 1924 and was educated at both Palmerston North Boys’ High School and Wellington College. He then attended Victoria University in Wellington, graduating with a Master of Art (English) with Honours. He taught at a number of schools including Wanganui Tech, Freyberg High School (10 years), and PN BHS. In 1965 he was appointed Principal of Paeroa College from 1965 to 1969
In 1948 Bob married Nancy Randall (“Nan”) while they lived in Palmerston North. And over those early years they had 6 children, John, Maggie, Judith, Lynne, Alison (Ali) and Bruce. Nan was a talented teacher in her own right but gave up the classroom and together with Bob’s support, raised an extremely successful family.
Sadly Nan never saw the full development of her family as she died in 1986, just after Bob had resigned from Taradale High School.
Bob joined Rotary while living in Paeroa. He joined the Paeroa Club in 1965 and transferred his Rotary membership to the Rotary Club of Taradale in early 1970. He gave 44 years of service to the Taradale Club and during this period he took many roles within the Club.
• In 1978 he was inducted as Club President and he used his role to lend weight to an idea put forward by the late Kel Tremain of establishing an educational fund to support talented students needing funding to pursue higher education.
• In 1988 the Club honoured him by making him a Paul Harris Fellow.
• In 1993, following the death of club Rotarian, Kel Tremain, the education trust fund was reestablished as the Kel Tremain Memorial Education Trust (KTMET). Bob served from 1997 to 2010 as the Trust’s Deputy Chairman. 4 •
He was for a period responsible as the Club’s contact with Rotary Foundation. He assisted members requiring funds for projects through RI’s Matching Grants scheme.
• He was the Club’s publicity officer and for a period of time produced the club’s newsletter. • He served as the Club’s contact with the developing Community College, now known as EIT. He promoted this link helping to organise the annual Club awards to two students who had been selected by the Institute.
• Together with Gil Cooper, he produced the annual Club Handbook.
• 1996 He was a member of the Preserve Planet Earth committee with Ron Ward and helped with planting trees to establish Dolbel Park.
• 1996 With the help of Club members, he helped promote the Taradale Probus club (now the Friendship Club of Taradale) and was a past chairman and life member.
• 1998 He joined a group of club members visit Tomakomai North Rotary Club in Japan. Tomakomai and Napier enjoy a sister-city relationship.
Bob was very community minded and gained wide recognition and respect working for local community organisations
• In 1992 he became a foundation member and secretary of the Taradale Development Association. He became widely admired for his tireless work on behalf of the local business community.
• In 1995 he helped set up a Trust called the Taradale High School Foundation which supports activities within the school that are not funded from the core budget.
• He was a foundation member and served several years as president of the Taradale and District Community Development Association. During this time he promoted and helped raised funding for the lighting of the Taradale Town Clock. The Rotary Club assisted with funding and labour. Club member Robbie Symons installed the cabling for the lights and Past Club member and Past Napier Mayor, Dave Prebensen installed the ground lights.
• 1992-2000 Bob was a member of the Friends of the Taradale Library and was a driving force for the establishment of a new library. • He assisted Ron Ward and a group of concerned citizens worried about the potential loss of the local Taradale police station. He organised the collection of 9000 signatures in 14 days and this helped win the case.
• For his work in the community he was awarded a QSM honour in 2005.
Bob greatly enjoyed Rotary fellowship but resigned in 2014 because of ill-health. He lived a life epitomized by the Rotary motto of “Service above self”. He was always giving, and in doing so touched many people who loved him for his warmth, his great sense of humour, and for the work he had done which affected so many lives. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live on as long as there is a clock tower shining its light out on the citizens of Taradale.
All members of the Rotary Club of Taradale extend their deepest sympathy to Bob’s family and grandchildren. The Club and the greater Taradale community have benefited greatly by his presence among us.