A Boy from Mooi River

Growing up at Weston Agricultural College

Gordon D. Paterson


Ad Rem Publications

The son of two teacher-coaches reflects on growing up at Weston Agricultural College situated on a 3000 acre farm near the town of Mooi River in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands South Africa.
Gordon Paterson reflects on life in the Midlands from the late 1950s, when many young farmers had returned from war to forge a future of peace and prosperity. The influence of his immediate family was formidable in forming perceptions about the values and principles upon which a successful life should be founded. Further influences were the Zulu people, the Weston community and people who resided in the district of the little town of Mooi River. Gordon also examines the impact of horses, boarding school life and south coast holidays on his formative years. He provides an account of the support he received from Old Westonians living in the South Pacific who made outstanding contributions to Agriculture in their adopted country. His final chapter delves into Donald Paterson’s rugby coaching over 30 years; 580 matches; drawing on Donald’s journals and additionally, the perceptions of Weston rugby players and captains, in an attempt to discover what lay at the heart of his coaching and educating adolescent school boys.

What we Did

  • Cover design
  • Print layout
  • Index
  • Print liaison (local & international)

Born to teacher-coach parents, Gordon Paterson’s life work has been in education. After his schooling in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, he spent a year on Rotary Exchange in New Zealand before completing a degree in Physical Education and Geography at Stellenbosch University, followed by a Higher Education Diploma at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg.
Gordon was appointed to teach Physical Education and Geography at Michaelhouse, an independent school in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Educating through human movement was his primary interest resulting in his returning to University to complete Honours and Masters Qualifications, both achieved with distinction. His relentless pursuit to create optimal learning environments outside the classroom saw him introduce Human Kinetics to replace Physical Education as a subject at Michaelhouse, where he taught and coached for a period of fourteen years.
His interest extended to youth sport coaching with his search for optimal coaching strategies designed to maximise the educational value of enjoyment in school sport. This latter search resulted in his doctoral thesis that focused on coaching strategies conducive to enhancing the self-esteem of participants in school sport. His research commenced during his 5-year term post-Michaelhouse as a lecturer in the educational aspects of Human Movement Studies at Stellenbosch University.
Gordon and his wife Helene immigrated with their two young children to New Zealand in 1994 where he spent his first eleven years at the Waikato Institute of Technology in Hamilton. After commencing as a lecturer in sport coaching he progressed through the role of Head of School, Sport and Exercise Science to become Dean of the Faculty of Business and Technology. Gordon then established Ad Rem International Limited, an education consultancy he and Helene run as co-directors before returning for an 18-month stint at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic in Tauranga as Head of School, Applied Science.
In November 2008 he was appointed as CEO of Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ), the national association for Physical Educators, a position he held for five years before returning to Ad Rem International Limited in February 2014. His first project was completing and publishing ‘There is Genius in Passion’, a book about sport, education and life that describes what led him to the threshold of his doctoral study.
Gordon developed ‘An Educational Model for Sport in Schools’ as an outcome of his doctorate and has successfully run workshops for teacher-coaches in schools in Australia and South Africa. He simultaneously does a 40 minute presentation to the entire school on the theme, ‘There is Genius in Passion’. He was a keynote speaker at the National Boys’ Education Conference at The Kings School in Sydney, 2017, when his address was entitled, ‘Boys to Men: Building competence and self-belief through human movement.’
Gordon and Helene have a son and daughter-in-law in Ross and Francisca, and a daughter Robyn.