‘Big shoes to fill’: former teacher fondly remembered

A life shaping others. . . Former Longford Intermediate teacher Ngami Prattley. PHOTO: ANNE REID.

Comments from a wide range of people are a comfort to the family as they grieve the loss of their mother, Rebekah Prattley says.
Former Longford Intermediate School teacher Ngami Prattley died on Thursday after a seven-year battle with cancer.
It was ‘‘humbling’’ for family members to read the comments people had posted online, Ms Prattley said.
Her children had ‘‘ big shoes to fill’’, she said.
‘‘We will never fill them probably.
‘‘People saying that she’s helped to shape them into who they are today, that’s pretty special for us to hear.’’  
It had also been ‘‘healing’’ to read of the impact her mother had and to realise how many lives she had touched.
‘‘It’s kept me mainly in a positive head space because I can see the love and respect people have.
‘‘I feel very proud.’’
Her willingness to help others and a ‘‘big heart’’ is the reason why her mother influenced people’s lives.
‘‘She just gave and gave and gave of herself.
‘‘Lots of people mentioned that she went above and beyond.’’
Mrs Prattley, who was born in Rarotonga, came to New Zealand when she was 3 years old and lived in Wellington and Tokoroa before training at the Waikato Institute of Education.
She came to Gore in 1982 to take up her first teaching position at Longford Intermediate School.
In 2012 the staff and pupils recognised the 30 years she taught at the school.
She was also the school’s sports co-ordinator for many years.
At the time Mrs Prattley told The Ensign she had not intended on staying in the town and was planning to travel overseas but then she met Allan, whom she married.
The couple had seven children.
After the initial diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, the disease spread throughout Mrs Prattley’s body, even though she fought it bravely, Ms Prattley said.
‘‘When [the cancer] gets to the point it did, no amount of spirit is going to keep you well.
‘‘We’re very glad she is not suffering any more.’’
Their mother’s legacy was everything that she had taught them.
‘‘Yes she’s gone but she’s given us the hugest of gifts and other people as well.’’
Throughout the years, Mrs Prattley had been involved with many groups including school cricket, basketball and netball teams, as well as being a longserving member of the Netball Eastern Southland committee and the Gore and Districts Kennel Association.