Green Bay High School

Founding Principal, Des Mann

Celebrating 50 years (1973-2023)

des mann

Green Bay High School's founding Principal (1973 - 1984) Des Mann, challenged many of the standard educational practices of the 1970s...

His passion to make Green Bay High School a place where students were empowered to become life long learners, and to seek excellence as a whole person in every aspect of their lives - whether that be academically, socially or spiritually will not be forgotten.

Founding a new school, in 1973, gave Des an opportunity to do things differently. He questioned rigid practices long accepted as part of the regime of secondary education and whether they really served the students best interests. Des was a forward thinker, not only was Green Bay High School one of the very few secondary schools without a uniform, he also banned the use of corporal punishment.

During his twelve years at Green Bay High School, Des Mann’s focus was on developing the whole child rather than just an assessment of their academic achievements. Upon his retirement from Green Bay High School in 1984, Des wrote a piece for the School Yearbook aptly named 'End of An Era' where he refers to education as uncovering the 'centre' of each student - that unique combination of talents and potential which define the uniqueness of every person; towards capturing the magic and joy of what it means to be human and whole. "It is exciting, expanding and liberating...this is what education is about."

Des wrote a book about his experiences founding a school, entitled Correspondences: The Shaping of a School, where he wrote "Education must enhance self-esteem. There is a feeling of limitlessness and assertive strength when persons feel that they matter… that they are capable and loveable. Through such an education people discover within themselves, the means and the will, to survive and grow.

On 20 August 2018, Des Mann died peacefully after a stroke, aged 93 years. A special remembrance was held on Saturday 15th September 2018, in the Green Bay High School staff room. All former and founding students, friends and former colleagues were invited to share with us in celebrating his life.

Des will be fondly remembered by former students and peers. There is a very interesting article, written in 2006 'National Standards and What Education is Really About' by Juliet Bonnay, including a podcast interview with Des Mann. Have a listen!

50th EVENT PHOTO GALLERY Founding Principal, Des Mann Celebrating 50 Years Kākāriki Marae (1976) Whare Akoranga Join Our Alumni School Yearbook ARCHIVES

Be Social


Green Bay High School
143 - 161 Godley Road, Green Bay
Auckland 0643
New Zealand

Tel +64 9 817 8173
Absences Ext. 234 or press ‘1’ (one)
Email [email protected]

For contact details of individual staff, including Year level deans, please navigate to our staff directory

Kōtuitui Community

Green Bay High School is proudly part of the Kōtuitui community of learning, a learning network of 12 West Auckland schools. Learn more about the community on the Kotuitui website.
Kotuitui Community of Learning

Accessibility Accessibility

Toggle High Contrast Mode on

Toggle Increase Spacing on

Toggle Dyslexia Assist on