Ruapehu District Council acknowledged Ohakune teacher, quilt fibre artist and historian Merrilyn George at a special ceremony today for her Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) that she received for her services to education and the community for over 50 years.

Mrs. George started teaching at Ruapehu College in 1966 and said that she probably taught over 5,000 students over her career on a variety of subjects including textile technology, art history, food technology, nutrition and Te Reo Māori and culture.

Following the presentation Mrs. George talked to Councillors and staff about her activities and plans since she retired from fulltime school teaching, which included her award winning quilt fibre art, and plans for a new book on Ohakune history.

“Now that I have retired from teaching at Ruapehu College I am working on projects involving my love of fibre art and local history,” said Mrs. George.

“This includes plans to publish a collection of letters, photographs and other archival material of the Ohakune area.”

This will be Mrs. George’s second historical book on Ohakune the first ‘Ohakune – Opening to a New World’ was published in 1990.

Mrs. George currently has a quilt exhibition touring NZ inspired by the life of Suzanne Aubert who arrived in NZ in 1860 and worked with Maori around NZ including the Whanganui River area before helping to establish Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion.

More information on Mrs. George’s work and philosophy can be found on her website

More information on the life of Suzanne Aubert can be found at

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