Decades dedicated to giving and promoting harmony
BUNDAMBA students and their families would be no stranger to Koro Reg Tohia and his beloved dog Panda.
Mr Tohia has played a pivotal role in teenagers' lives for the past two decades as he volunteered his time at Bundamba State Secondary College, promoting harmony and multiculturalism.
Now aged 82, Mr Tohia continues to spend two days a week volunteering at the school.
"I just like helping people, getting out there and supporting people, supporting the community,” he said.
Mr Tohia's commitment to the community started long before his time at the high school.
He moved from New Zealand to play rugby union for the Ipswich Rangers in 1974 and was contracted as a teacher.
His volunteering efforts in Ipswich started with the Ipswich Beardies, where he worked on the Colour City Carnival, now known as the Ipswich Festival.
"We used to raise a lot of money for charity here in Ipswich,” he said.
From there, Mr Tohia started the Kiwi Club in Ipswich, which used to raise funds for the local sporting clubs and entertained nursing homes and schools. He went on to volunteer with Musketeers Baseball and at Dinmore Primary School before starting at Bundamba.
He was also the man behind Ipswich's annual Multifest. Most of his community endeavours took place with his dog Panda by his side, before she sadly passed in 2012.
She would pop in and out of classrooms and was easily recognisable with only one eye and her grey curly coat. The pair would often be spotted walking to and from school every day.
BSSC principal Jo Hughes said Mr Tohia provides support wherever needed, from coaching students to perform the Haka to cooking breakfast before students sit their QCS tests.
"It is fair to say that Reg has touched countless lives during his many years volunteering at the college,” she said.