Good Sorts: Meet the school staffer who worked unpaid for 10 years

December 18, 2022

A staff member at a Christchurch school has worked just about every role since arriving in Christchurch 45 years ago.

David Mitchell came to the Garden City from Australia as part of his OE but he never left.

He instead helped to build a school, before going on to serve just about every possible role in it – often working unpaid.

First, after arriving in 1977, he worked two years for free building Hillview Christian School.

"I remember putting $5 in the pot, and we paid for David's board and food," chairman of the board Aaron Donaldson reflected.

And in the end, Mitchell worked for a decade unpaid, moving from labourer to teacher.

"I thought we all worked for free - or was it just me?" he joked.

He's also been deputy principal, property manager, and most recently caretaker - but now he's retiring.

"I'll probably cry," one staff member said.

"We love him and we're going to miss him greatly," another added.

And on his last day, Mitchell was sent off with a haka from the students, interrupting his attempt at a quiet exit.

"I've got tear in my eyes, you little rotters," he said, bidding a final farewell to the school he's done so much for.


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