Pauwels Flying Scholarship
“Together with Effort”
John Pauwels is the first son of Dutch Immigrants. They migrated to New Zealand after the deprivations of World War II hit their home country badly.
When John began school, he could only speak Dutch, but he quickly learnt English and English became his first language. He was a very average student, by no means ever at the top of his classes but he was diligent and persevered. It took two attempts to get his University Entrance (now known as NCEA Level Two).
As a celebration, his mother gathered her savings together and paid for a trip for the two of them to go to Wellington for the weekend. It was the first time John had ever been in an aircraft and on take-off, he had an epiphany – he was going to be a pilot!
Coming from a working class immigrant family, the decision was considered by family to be nothing more than a dream, but John fought to make it a reality and over several years, he worked part time jobs as a carpet maker and psychiatric nurse to fund his fledgling flying career. Finally, in 1979, seven years after his first flight, John was employed by Air New Zealand as a pilot.
John has recently retired from his 40 year career with Air New Zealand – finishing as a captain on their biggest jet, the Boeing 777. He had been a captain for nearly 30 years.
The career had treated him well and he literally had the time of his life, being paid to pilot the latest in aviation technology around the world, giving him the ability to see all that the world had to offer. As John settles into his retirement years, he wants to give back – both to the small aviation community in New Zealand, and to the school that helped him develop the skills, work ethic and perseverance to succeed.
John and his partner, Melissa, developed the Pauwels Flying Scholarship; gaining charitable status on the way and bringing to the attention of Air New Zealand, and other airlines, the remarkable talent that Hillmorton High School students possess.
Pauwels Flying Scholarship Winner, 2019
Wen Seng Chen is a Year 12 student…