In Memory of Alison Gernhoefer
Sunday, May 1
Alison Gernhoefer, principal of Westlake Girls from 1982 – 2011 passed away in April 2022. She  is remembered as an inspiring teacher, an outstanding leader and a visionary. She had a huge impact on the education of girls at Westlake and as a force in NZ for promoting the education of girls. In 1994, she was awarded the QSO (The Queen's Service Order) for her services to education. 

From the outset Mrs. Gernhoefer was a keen supporter of the young multi-cultural group and she set up cultural exchanges with her former school. Westlake's strong musical tradition took shape through the 80s, and from the 90s the choral and instrumental groups were regularly winning accolades and medals. Mrs Gernhoefer attended most of their performances, at home or abroad. Likewise, she attended all the national rowing regattas, having helped set up the Rowing Association in her first year at Westlake.  

Through her three decades at Westlake there were major changes in the school environment. In the 80s the school got a new music suite and library, in the 90s multiple new blocks and major refurbishments to existing blocks to extend facilities for students, the new A Block on the Wairau Rd frontage, a new entrance and Student Administration Centre, and the groundwork done for the new sports complex and covered courts.  

She spent several years in negotiations with the Council, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Transport to secure a multi-million dollar settlement for the school to compensate for the loss of land to the Northern Busway. As well as her stewardship of the school, she was involved in a wealth of community and professional organisations, including Zonta, Takapuna Rotary Club, the Board of AUT, Save the Children Fund and Employers and Manufacturers Association.  

She was an active member of the North Harbour Club and the Business Round Table and the Education Forum. She retired at the end of 2011, after 30 years  service to the school. Her service was attended by many former and current members of staff and many former students wrote messages recognising the impact she had had through their Westlake years. The Gernhoefer Administration Centre at the main entrance is named in her honour.