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Educator and campaigner Robin Duff dies

Mon 16 Feb 2015 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Longtime lgbti rights campaigner and education champion Robin Duff died in Christchurch this morning. Teachers’ union the PPTA, of which he was a Senior Vice President, says he died in Christchurch Hospital surrounded by family and friends. “Robin has been a caring and vibrant part of the association for many years and will be sorely missed,” says PPTA President Angela Roberts. Duff often combined his passion for lgbti rights and education, and was a firm voice on efforts to make schools safer and more welcoming for lgbti students and teachers. Roberts has particularly praised his work with the Rainbow Taskforce, to make schools a better place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students. Duff was involved in the formation of Gay Liberation in Christchurch in 1972. In 1973 he and Lorraine Barber established Christchurch's first gay and lesbian line in response to needs for information and support. The passionate educationalist began teaching at Burnside High School in 1973. He served as PPTA junior vice president from 2005 to 2007, president from 2007 to 2009 and again from 2011 to 2013 and senior vice president from 2009 to 2011 and 2013 until 2015. Most recently he had been working hard to support Canterbury teachers through the quakes that devastated the region. Roberts says his strength and compassion in this area have been appreciated by many. Education Minister Hekia Parata says he was a strong advocate. “While we did not always agree we certainly debated the issues and Robin was a strong advocate for his members’ views, which I respected.” Many tributes are being posted on social media as the news reverberates. We share some: Nick Henderson: Rest in peace Robin, it was pleasure to know you, and our chats re queer history and your plans for a NZ conference - something which I hope comes to pass. Richard K Tankersley: For those of you who know him, I'm sure you will be saddened to know that Robin Duff died here in Christchurch this morning. I have no details of arrangements at the moment. Arohanui to his many friends and to his family. Craig J Ashby: It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of a great friend and mentor Robin Duff you have been inspirational to all you met. Rest in peace my friend. Mani Mitchell: It is with shock and much sadness that I pass on the news of the death of Robin Duff. I am lost for words, Robin you were a very special person, planet earth is a poorer place with your passing. Virginia Parker-Bowles: Robin, thank you for all your work and your wonderful energy. An inspiration. My thoughts are with your friends and whanau x Green MP Jan Logie: So sad to hear of the death of Robin Duff … I knew him through his work to make schools a better place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) students. Cheree Corbin: A fabulous man who made my high school years a pleasure, when they could so easily have been a nightmare. I really can't believe this news. You're so beautiful, Robin. You'll be missed by a great many people, I can guarantee that. xx James Matthew Sleep: Vale Robin Duff. You were an inspiring and kind teacher, leader, unionist, fighter for social justice and friend to so many. May you rest in peace X Prue Hyman: This is terrible - so sorry for all his close friends and family and thinking of you all … A great loss to the glbt etc community and to education and union activism. Terry Goulden: A life well lived and a shining star of humanity. Robin was the epitome of the saying the personal is the political. Not only did he work unceasingly for gay rights but on a personal level he was a mentor for many gay men coming out in the seventies and eighties. His light will shine forever. Steve Attwood: Very sad to hear this. Robin was one of the great ones. The rainbow community press him much gratitude Karl Schmid: This afternoon I was made aware of the sudden and very sad passing of Robin Duff. The party will NEVER be as lively or the same again. R.I.P to an amazing man who did so much, gave so much and taught me that it was 100% ok to be me! I, along with so many others miss you already Mr Duff! Ben Myall: Farewell Robin Duff, thank you for all the help and support you gave me through the the years starting when I was just a teenager, you have shaped who I am now. You will be missed by so many, but you will always live on in everything you fought for and everyone you helped If you would like to pay tribute or have memories you would like to share, email news@gaynz.com     

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 16th February 2015 - 2:33pm

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