|When Kevin Corcoran attended the Christian Brothers’ School in Dunedin as a boy, he can hardly have imagined the part that he would play in helping to found a Catholic school in Southland.
After leaving Dunedin for Waikaka, Kevin and his wife Betty, moved to a farm at Waitane in the parish of Mataura, where he joined the local priest, F. Dan Moynihan, in his efforts to raise funds for a Catholic boys’ school at Gore.
The ten Corcoran children attended Te Tipua Primary School, but unless a Catholic secondary school could be built at Gore, they would have to go away to boarding school afterwards for a Catholic education. As part of the local fund raising effort, Kevin took part in a stock drive all over Southland and later when the school site was taking shape, he was there with his machinery helping with the fencing and the ploughing of the green paddock.
Once St Peter’s College was established, he served on the P.T.A. and was always a great supporter of the school, especially at Fair time, when he was helped by his wife Betty, who would join the sewing bees and baking sessions to ensure the day was a success.
Kevin’s working life was to take an unusual turn in the late 90s, when he was “discovered” on the bowling green and invited to audition for the Mainland Cheese ads on television. During the next 10 years he became a familiar face in households all over New Zealand. This led to more charitable work as an after dinner speaker for The Heart Foundation.
In more recent years seven of his grandchildren have followed their parents as pupils at St Peter’s and the family have many memories of their time there.
When Father Buckner was in charge of collecting the annual stationery cheques, he requested that each of the ten children bring in an individual cheque. There was no way that Kevin was going to write ten cheques, so the bravest child was given one cheque to cover them all and had to tell Father Buckner that there wouldn’t be another nine!
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