News & Events

Remembering Ivan Snook, Educationalist

BY Ian Shirley

Professor Ivan Snook, one of New Zealand’s finest educators, has died. A former colleague who was widely respected as both a scholar and a gentleman, Ivan stood out among his peers as a man of substance.

He was respected as an educator with his views on neoliberal education standing today as an indictment of the Treasury agenda as articulated in the 1980s that asserted education was a private asset rather than a public good. Motivated by a lifelong commitment to social justice, Ivan championed public education and at the heart of his philosophy was a firmly held belief that all human beings are unique – they each have a history, a culture and a dignity of their own.

Two articles which demonstrate his philosophy are The Purpose of Education, and the Briefing Paper Education, co-written with John O’Neill.  

Ivan exemplified the traits and characteristics of an educated man. His personal philosophy was consistent with his educational scholarship and the man himself demonstrated the same ethical standards and qualities he expected of his students. Over a lifetime those of us in education get the opportunity to work alongside a wide range of colleagues characterized by different abilities and aspirations, but few stand out as Ivan did because of their scholarship and because of those personal qualities that we associate with being truly human.

Our thanks and gratitude go out to Josie and the family at this time, for sharing Ivan with so many of us who knew him as a respected colleague and a friend – his life remains an inspiration to us all.  

Ian Shirley.