Tribute to Charmaine from Rosemary

Rosemary, the author on the right

Charmaine’s old friend and teaching colleague from AGGS days, Rosemary Ronald, sent a beautiful tribute to Charmaine –  she and partner Deb were unable to come, as they were out of Auckland, so this was what she wrote:

Firstly Deb and I wish we could be with you today but we are lapping up the sun and the storms of the far North.

I can’t remember if I knew you, or knew OF you, in 1961 when we were both studying at the University of Auckland, on parallel paths to becoming secondary school teachers.

Moving on 18 years and many experiential life changes later, we became colleagues at AGGS in 1979.

Our friendship evolved as did my deep respect for you during those years – your willingness and determination to address huge issues in your life and in the school – racism, sexism, homophobia, classism – as well as implementing major educational changes.
You were indefatigable in pursuing your goals and gathered a powerful team around you, achieving vast changes in the hitherto traditional systems in the school. All done at the same time as listening to and placating the ‘old girls’, PTA, parents etc.  I know you instigated radical changes in the lives of staff and students alike. All this whilst also addressing personal challenges, you did with a sparkle in your eye, a wicked sense of humour, and with your constant ability to speak positively to and about others.
Your legacy from that time alone is immeasurable and continues to inform the lives of all the young women who were under your care.

You and Tanya are a mighty good team, so lucky you found each other – you both walk the talk, embracing diversity and inclusivity – you don’t just talk about it.

Charmaine, it is with immense respect and love, as a peer, colleague, political ally, and fellow old lezzie, I salute you.  I will always treasure our friendship.

Hari huritau ki a koe!!

Rosemary Ronald

for 11 July 2022


  1. Itsuko + Takashi Kakemizu says

    Beautiful message…
    we’ve known Charmaine only tiny moment.
    But we can imagine her brilliant long life history through this message.

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