It is with considerable regret that the New Zealand education and rail heritage communities are mourning the loss of one of their most outstanding contributors, Michael Anderson, who passed away last week. Michael lived much of his life in Christchurch and became active at the Ferrymead Railway, part of the Ferrymead Heritage Park, whilst still at school. From many administrative and leadership roles for the railway society, he subsequently worked with several other Ferrymead organisations, including Friends of Ferrymead Fraternity and the Diesel Traction Group, the latter becoming his major focus over time. His considerable skills and talent became evident in many initiatives including the 1990 Vulcan Railcar 50th anniversary tour around the South Island, and opportunities to serve the wider rail heritage movement in NZ through FRONZ quickly followed, most recently as chair of the Heritage Technical Committee.
Michael could have lent his substantial abilities to many possible paths in life, yet he settled on education as a life career choice, and in the State primary sector at that. He taught in NZ schools and in London then latterly at North Loburn School and Waimairi School in Christchurch as principal for more than a decade. Whilst still in the Waimairi role he also found time to be the acting principal of Aranui Primary School for its final year before it closed at the end of 2016. Mike also had two children. The blog acknowledges that the educational communities Mike served in and his family are also grieving his legacy at this time. A funeral service is to be held at La Vida Centre on May 2.