Kelvin Smythe lost his battle against prostate cancer yesterday morning (Saturday 13th October NZ time). Funeral details yet to be decided.

Kelvin fought against neoliberalism in New Zealand primary school education, right from the outset of the euphemistic ‘tomorrow’s schools’ in 1990, with everything he had, and was a rebel to the end.

His death is a huge loss to primary education.

Allan Alach


Kelvin’s funeral will be held on Wednesday 24th of October at 1pm

Trinity St Paul’s Union Parish

Cnr Queen and Bryce Streets


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20 Responses to Sadly….

  1. Vern Stevens says:

    A very sad day. Rest in Peace Kelvin, thankyou for all you have done.

  2. heathermcq says:

    I am so sad to hear this. Last week, at an educational conference, I met a younger teacher who referred to Kelvin as a champion and I wanted to let him know that his wonderfully witty and rebellious voice was reaching new ears. Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane. My condolences to all who knew and loved Kelvin.

  3. Massive lost says:

    So sad that we have lost Kelvin. He was a salmon that swam against the flow and we need people like him. Sadly they are few and far between. We have so many people in positions of power who are happy to be swept along in any which way regardless of what is best for our schools. It takes strength to stand up like he did and I admire him very much. Rest peacefully Kelvin.

  4. So sad to hear this news. He gave such a strong voice to truth.

  5. Chris Horne says:

    NZ education has just lost a dear friend. Kelvin championed the teacher who knew that central to learning is the holistic; a beautiful balance between the cognitive and the affective. Kelvin highly prized what was genuine, sincere and truthful. Sincere condolences to his family who lovingly cared for him. I will miss him so much.
    Chris Horne.

  6. 111peggyb says:

    There ae no words to express such a significant loss to family, friends and colleagues.
    Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane.

    Rest in Peace Kelvin, you will be mourned and missed.

    Arohanui e hoa.

    Peggy Burrows

  7. Steve Horne says:

    I will miss you Kelvin. A tireless advocate for children and the truth. A teacher who mixed heart and skill to create a learning environment that was safe, creative, and that encouraged wonderment and curiosity. You leave us all with a legacy of practice and pen, that was second to none.

  8. Heather Taylor says:

    So sorry to hear of Kelvin’s death. He was an inspiration to many of us, through his postings and although I have never met him, he will be sadly missed. Thoughts and prayers are with his family.

    Heather Taylor

  9. Bruce Crawford says:

    What a man.

  10. audrey jones says:

    as I have written on Facebook i knew Kelvin well. I did typing and proof reading of many of his publications. He had a gift of writing in poetic and sentence form. I was a secondary school teacher of social studies when I did this in the 1980s visiting his home at Cambridge. I have many of his books still and was only looking at them last week.

    I now live in Sandringham, Auckland for the last 12 years and before that in Waiwera. So I have not seen him for a long time. Did follow him on this ste but lost contact when had to replace my computer.

    Rest in Peace. … Audrey Jones

  11. Wendy Roberts says:

    A huge loss to education.
    In a post Kelvin said something like “who is the Ivan Snook of today?”

    I wonder, who will be the Kelvin of tomorrow?

    Kelvin has been a voice for critical and unconstrained thinking-the very thing teachers empower students to do.

    Thank you Kelvin for all you have brought to both teachers and policymakers in education. I am grateful and enriched as a teacher to have had the opportunity to learn from and be challenged by you, in your brilliant work in the field of Social Studies and in wider and deeper educational thought.

    Your constantly held perspective of the human at the heart of everything said and done in and for people and education leaves a fine principle to fight for.

  12. Sad news, thank you Kelvin for your insight and analyses, the world needs more people like you Kelvin.

  13. Roger Young says:

    A really sad loss. A rare and fine human. He has real classroom experience and qualification, could see and value education from the learner’s standpoint. Not only did he recognise he also fought for and valued teachers who were genuine and effective. He was astute and honest to a fault. I hope that many who listened to him have gone on to spread the Kelvin Perspective.
    We have lost a giant educational Totara.
    kua hinga the totara nui. Takoto mai i runga i the rangimarie Kelvin.

  14. Richard Wisnesky says:

    Yes Kelvin will be sadly missed as I don’t think there are many, if any, other voices out there telling the Government what it needs to hear. The sad debacle called ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ has left a huge legacy which is nothing to be proud of. Rest in peace Kelvin. I only ‘know’ you through your writing so thank you for letting me know that I wasn’t alone in my condemnation of the state of our education system. I will miss your erudite observation and your wonderful use of language showing that to be a true educator you have to be educated in a worthy education system.
    Richard P Wisnesky

  15. Averil Ford says:

    My very special brother who showed such a dedication to education right up to his final days. His family have nursed him at home with the utmost care.

  16. Cagey Hawkins says:

    NZ teachers and kids alike have lost a true champion. His use of language was inspirational; his writer’s voice unafraid and undimmed by confronting what he rightly saw as ‘dim’ policy. Educational emperors’ just lost a powerful ‘fashion’ critic; we are all the poorer for Kelvin’s passing.

  17. Gail Loane says:

    Sad news today. Kelvin has been hugely important in the education world for many years. He had the gift of seeing something for what it really was – no pulling the wool over his eyes. He never hesitated to express his thoughts, which often provided clarity for the rest of us. His words are worthy of revisiting often. I have appreciated his support and his challenges throughout my career. He will be missed and he will be remembered.
    Gail Loane

  18. Daryl Aim says:

    Kelvin you have left a void that I am not sure anyone else can fill. Your wisdom, passion, and doggedness towards a flawed education system are legendary. I’ve had to google up many a word you used as I had not heard of them before.
    It was my honour to provide you with some art works to accompany your posts over recent times. I know that you will be watching over things from afar.
    You will be dearly missed my friend.

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