A man of mana and aroha 

Rev Canon Adrian Gover:  14.01.1936 – 03.07.2022

Rev Adrian Gover was last week described as a man who brought both ‘mana and aroha’ into the priesthood.

Those words were expressed at Adrian’s funeral at St Andrew’s Church last Thursday.  He had been associated with the Anglican Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki, and the Parish of Cambridge, since 2007, and was recognised as being an exceptional and transformative teacher.

Educated at Remuera Primary School and Auckland Grammar, Adrian attained his teacher’s certificate through Auckland Teachers’ College, and a B.Sc, majoring in psychology through Auckland University.  After working for the Department of Education Psychological Service in Hamilton, he did further graduate and postgraduate studies at Massey University in Palmerston North, graduating with a BA (double major) and an MA (Hons).  Later, he completed further postgraduate studies at Waikato University.  His doctoral thesis focused on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Much of Adrian’s career was centred in the educational field.  He amassed years as a teacher and school principal, covering positions at Raglan, Woodstock in Hamilton, Marco near Kohuratahi, Ohura, Woodville and Ashhurst before training as a resource teacher for the Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) Service and travelling widely in that role.

His interest lay in working with children with a range of educational and behavioural difficulties, as well as their parents and teachers.  He also provided counselling and clinical supervision to the then Child Youth and Family Services (now Oranga Tamariki), and Tautoko Services workers.

His entry to the church came later, when he undertook theological studies through the Education for Ministry programme under the supervision of the Bishop of Waiapu.

Delivering a message on behalf of the Diocese of Waiapu last week was the former Vicar of St Andrew’s Church and now Anglican Bishop of Waiapu, Andrew Hedge.  He said Adrian brought his many gifts and experiences into his working life with the church in southern Hawke’s Bay area.

“His wisdom and passion for healing were appreciated by the community,” he said. “When he moved to Cambridge, I enjoyed getting to know him. We had a shared interest in motorcycles … we were the ‘priests on motorcycles’ who often took part in the annual motorcycle toy run.  He was very encouraging of others, a priest of keen intellect and a man who gave thoughtful counsel.”

Archbishop Sir David Moxon spoke as a friend and on behalf of Archbishop Philip Richardson.  He described Adrian’s work with those on the autism spectrum as being ‘transformative’ and said he took the same passion and care, ‘mana and aroha’, into the priesthood.

“Archbishop Philip would say of Adrian that he was a man of wisdom, compassion and vision.  It is a beautiful combination and has made such a difference in the lives of many.”

St Andrew’s vicar, Rev Jennie Savage, said Adrian had been a man who gave of his time, money and skills with compassion and generosity.

His lengthy involvement with the St John ambulance service often saw him rush in to help those in need without a thought for any risk to himself. “He was very people-oriented, a good community member, a man who loved animals.”

During the service, family friend Tiaki Tamihana, gave a karakia and performed a haka.

Adrian had been the Cambridge RSA pastor for some years. Following the sounding of The Last Post at the end of the service, he was also farewelled by Cambridge RSA president Tony Hill.

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