Prominent couple off to Christchurch

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A couple known for their involvement in arts, entertainment and education, Shona Hewlett and Peter Cairns, are leaving Gore to live in Christchurch.

Ms Hewlett is Longford Intermediate School principal and Mr Cairns the St James Theatre manager.

Ms Hewlett said the couple were making the shift to Christchurch to be near family.

Ms Hewlett has been appointed principal of Bamford School in the suburb of Woolston.

The primary school, with a roll of 170, would move in to a completely new building on the same site at the end of the year, she said.

She described the school as poorly performing, “so I’ve been hired to turn it around”.

“Because they’ve been underperforming for a few years they have had a drop in their roll.”

Moving on . . .Peter Cairns and Shona Hewlett are leaving Gore.

Mr Cairns plans to teach music in Christchurch.

As well as taking on the new challenge, the couple will be able to spend more time with their children and grandchildren, Ms Hewlett said.

Mr Cairns would also be able to see his mother more often.

The couple have several family members in Christchurch, two of whom are involved in education.

Ms Hewlett’s brother, Malcolm Hewlett, is Linwood College’s deputy principal, and the couple’s son-in-law, John McDowall, is St Bede’s College deputy principal.

The couple are well-known in entertainment circles in Southland. They have been involved in Gore Musical Theatre, school productions, a variety of shows, and the Gore Country Music Club.

Ms Hewlett is a New Zealand Gold Guitar Award organising committee member.

Mr Cairns teaches music to private pupils as well as performing and teaching out-of-school music. He is also an itinerant music teacher at Gore High School.

He is originally from Ashburton and came to Gore just over 35 years ago.

He had a lot of family ties in Canterbury, he said.

While Ms Hewlett would start her new position on July 24, Mr Cairns would stay in the South until Gore Musical Theatre’s August production of Momma Mia is finished, he said.

“I haven’t quite worked out when I’ll go yet,” Mr Cairns said.

He planed to travel south for the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards, he said.