St Paul’s Collegiate School is farewelling two highly esteemed English teachers, Heidi and Colin Lewis, who are moving across the ditch at the end of the academic year.
Alongside their teaching roles, Colin is Housemaster of Fitchett House, and Heidi is Housemaster of Harington Day House, meaning the pair have made significant bonds with staff, students, and families over their eleven years at St Paul’s.
“The amount of support we have received from students and their parents is phenomenal. We have had families gift us their baches, they have taken our kids to the movies, and they have always shown a real interest in our lives. We honestly feel part of their family too,” says Heidi.
“Leading Fitchett House has given me a sense of purpose and I have loved every minute of it. I have seen young men and women develop substantially, and the culture within the House has positively shifted in the past eight years. You never take for granted that you get to work with amazing students and people, and I will forever look back on my time in Fitchett House with a great deal of pride,” says Colin.
Having already shifted from South Africa to New Zealand in 2010, Heidi and Colin knew all too well that this would be a tough decision. For them, this process has been drawn out over several years. It was during a Chiefs rugby game in 2019 that Colin and his brother-in-law Wesley first discussed the idea of moving both families overseas. The brothers then pitched the idea to their wives at lunch the following day, and it was evident that the move would benefit both families.
Shortly after, Colin had several phone interviews with a school in Townsville in preparation for the big move. The Lewis’s put their home on the market, but a pesky international pandemic was brewing in the
background. Australia weren’t accepting overseas applications at the time when the Lewis’s were applying and it became clear that their move wasn’t to be. The silver lining to stay in New Zealand became apparent when they chose to build a new home and relish their life in Cambridge, as Covid-19 wasn’t going anywhere soon.
Having pushed through three years of the pandemic and several bouts of lockdowns, the distance separating family between here and Australia became too much. Heidi, Colin, and sons Cayde (12) and Trystan (9) visited their relatives in Brisbane earlier this year and fell in love with the city and being around their extended family.
On the plane home from their visit, Colin whispered to Heidi that Brisbane felt like home. Heidi couldn’t deny that being away from family had been terribly difficult and that her boys were missing out on making
memories with their grandparents and cousins.
“I was shocked that Colin and the boys were even considering the move. Cayde has been looking forward to St Paul’s for so long, he’s even been training for Tihoi Venture School – and he’s only Year 8!”
But it was obvious all the men in their household were on the same page, and that Brisbane would offer lots of opportunities for all of them.
After the whole Lewis family came down with Covid-19 earlier this year, they used their isolation period to plan out how relocating to Brisbane could work. They figured out where they are going to live, and what schools the boys will attend but decided to work out the rest along the way.
For their own careers, initially, Heidi and Colin figured that education would still be in their future. However, they are keeping their options open and are considering opening a cafe or a gym. The boys are so excited to be near their cousins and grandparents. Trystan is a super keen rugby player and has assured his parents that if he goes on to play professionally, it will be for the All Blacks, as New Zealand
will always have a special place in all of their hearts.