Skip to main content

Obituary – 25-year master Rodney Gordon

Mr Rodney Gordon, a beloved 25-year Grammar master, passed away peacefully at home on Monday 18 April.

Mr Gordon was courageous in fighting his illness over the last decade, and travelled the world, with the support of the Grammar community, seeking treatment, so he had more time with family and more time in the classroom, teaching the subject he loved.

Always with a positive outlook, Mr Gordon was a man who did not like being unwell; he would often be seen running barefooted around the top field before school in order to retain some form of fitness, independence and normality. The classroom and being at school amongst boys and colleagues provided him with a reprieve from his illness and he valued the support given to him by the Commerce department, the Water Polo fraternity and the wider School community.

Mr Gordon’s name is synonymous with Auckland Grammar School. Having taught at Grammar since 1992, he was in his 31st year teaching all levels of Economics and had been responsible for NCEA Economics since late 2003 until his illness prevented him from continuing with this responsibility. He had also taught IGCSE / Pre-Q Business Studies and NCEA Accounting. He was a well-respected master who was a specialist teacher who had forged and maintained very strong relationships with students and colleagues across the school.

Outside the classroom, Mr Gordon was committed to the School’s extracurricular programme. reflected in his leadership of Cross Country, the Distance Squad, Triathlon and Water Polo at various times in his tenure. He had been Master in Charge of Triathlon since 1992 and was responsible for introducing the sport at Grammar.

Mr Gordon had been a recognisable figure running with the Distance Squad on early mornings and thereafter advancing his personal fitness, including when extremely unwell in the pool, on the track or on the roads. He was excited about the development of the 150th pool project and will be remembered as being an influencer who helped initiate interest in the concept of an outdoor pool purpose-fit for Swimming and Water Polo.

Numerous Grammar teams went on to win national titles under his watchful eye, including New Zealand Secondary Schools championships in Cross Country, Road Racing, Triathlon and Water Polo. Largely away from school, he had a love of surf lifesaving and the sea which was something he passed on to his sons and many Old Boys. 

Mr Gordon will be remembered for his generosity of spirit, his willingness to freely help students with their studies or a training schedule and was always invigorated by seeing Old Boys go on to represent New Zealand in their chosen sports. He was a proud Grammar man who was a selfless contributor while role-modelling the School’s values in his everyday life. At the same time his stubborn, fiercely independent approach to fighting his illness was admired by his colleagues and students alike.

He will be greatly missed by students, staff, Old Boys and friends of the School, and our deepest sympathies are extended to Sue, Jack, Tom and his extended family.

A celebration of Mr Rodney Gordon’s life will be held at 1.00pm on Friday 22 April in The Great Hall. The service will be livestreamed and can be accessed here.

The family has asked in lieu of flowers, donations to The Rodney Gordon Trust would be warmly received by emailing Debbie Burridge at