Former Marist brother who was top educator dies in Samoa

A former Marist Brother who was hailed as an outstanding educator in Samoa has died.

Patrick Buckley, known in his early days as Br Fintan, died in Samoa in early March.

Mr Buckley’s career saw him teaching primary, secondary and tertiary students in New Zealand and Samoa.

He had a reputation as an innovative educator and although his degree was in English, he was better known as a teacher of Science.

Starting a lecture by playing a piece of classical music was just one of the strategies he employed to ensure he had the immediate attention of students and that they were listening.

In his earlier days he moved around from St Joseph’s, Samoa, Auckland’s St Paul’s College and on to Avondale College.

He left the brothers in 1970 and after a further 14 years at Birkdale College on Auckland’s North Shore and a short stint at Epsom Girls Grammar School, he returned to Samoa in 1989.

Following that, he spent most of more than 20 years at the National University of Samoa apart from a few years at Samoa College, Samoa Primary School, Robert Louis Stevenson Primary School and Fa’atuatua Christian College.

Among his former students is Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

Mr Buckley was consistently voted the best lecturer at the National University of Samoa by those who knew best – students.

He was modest about what made him the teacher he was.

“You’ve got to be interested in making sure students are well educated and you need to be dedicated. It’s as simple as that. I don’t want to get too carried away about it all,” he was quoted saying.

“He actually inspires his students because he wants them to succeed,” noted a colleague before Mr Buckley died.

“Every aspect of his teaching is coloured by that aim. He loves Chemistry and he wants others to love it too,” the colleague said.

In 2011, Mr Buckley was nominated as “Person of the Decade”.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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