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Learning with Peter; the indescribable miracle of skill transfer from one person to another.

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

On Wednesday, the 5th into the late evening, Peter & I chatted about our life together at the school, we talked about many things we had experienced & loved during those years.

In remembrance of Peter Minturn, I would like to share a little of those years with you.

Peter at the bench

In context & prior to the school’s inception, Peter had become distressed by the decline in the trade. By 1997 he was pleading with fellow Goldsmiths in his Crucible editorial column, to take up an apprentice. He had been a part of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, the Jewellery Trade’s Dacum Report and had loudly aired his views. As with many things a collection of events built up momentum, & Pete was off to live the dream of running a school. He placed a few adverts in the paper offering courses for a non-existent school. He set out on Boxing Day 2002 to find 353 New Nth Rd, Kingsland. Pete with a great group of people on board who saw his vision & liked what they saw, opened the school.

All hands make light work

The Peter Minturn Goldsmith’s School principle aim was to train students to a professional standard, in the Arts and Crafts of the Jeweller and Goldsmith.

A very small school with a very big name. PMGS became well researched, developed in our content & adapted to the framework, as much as Pete was willing to.

With Pete’s life's work & skillsets condensed into 3 intensive programmes, our 16 year-long “love affair” with NZQA commenced. The school was approved to deliver our Local Courses Certificate of Pre-Apprenticeship in Goldsmithing & Jewellery, closely followed a year later by level 5 Diploma & level 6 Advanced Diploma each qualification with 1600hrs in 2004.

The years that follow created a significant moment in NZ's education history of which all PMGS learners have earned a place in that history.

Compliance & Peter; what a mix - suffice to say the landscape of education is not one that cares for time honoured skills & the feeling was reciprocated as his letters showed, especially the one that called NZQA "morons “. The act of balancing the needs of Peter Minturn, the School & NZQA/TEC was no easy task.

Friday Morning Talks

Education is a bold venture particularly in the Arts because it involves learners with a fragile but creative spirit.

Peter loved the years he spent at the school. Precious moments in a master/student relationship, where Peter succeeded in lighting an intellectual response in learners & connected with their innermost being. This will never be repeated.

He lead a team of dedicated Staff who working tirelessly to ensure our mission & vision were fulfilled. The hours were phenomenally long.

The process of teaching course content, the intonation, the rhythms & sequences of the work, the balance of book work, bench time & examinations, the time & place. Peter understood the importance of these elements & being confident & competent were attributes that he displayed with ease. As with any master a hard task looks easy. Pete would happily demonstrate any point of reference to give visual reinforcement to his instructions. There is no field of creativity in which talents plays so decisive a role as in education. Only a talented craftsman, a person with the presence of mind and a flair for education will respect & protect the indescribable miracle of skill transfer from one person to another.

To our students; Peter was so proud, because of the hard work you put in to learning the very unfamiliar skills of a goldsmith.

What mattered most to Peter was the skillsets attained, there was no use for a square peg in a round hole.

Because Peter's primary focus was not a financial one, our level of pastoral care and outcomes where extremely well met. It was important to Peter that our students were well looked after. The collegial environment was fabulous, all-inclusive, and very supportive. That was the Peter Minturn Way. Peter retired from the school in 2015.

His favourite subject - Art Nouveau

Dad some stats to highlight the lengths we went to, to achieve quality outcomes and the depth of your legacy.

  • 127 Graduated full-time learners from Certificate level4 to Diploma level6

  • 2700+- Night class learners introduced to handmade jewellery with an ability to create & potentially pursue a cottage industry.

I'll leave you with one last piece of Dads advice. It comes from one of his Friday morning talks, it says....

“Design is equally as important as craftsmanship, in your career as a Goldsmith. Design is the most important element that will establish your reputation as a Goldsmith. Long after the price has been forgotten, the design will keep on enhancing your reputation”.

Dad, Peter, Pete, Pete-y-kin, Sweety Petey (Thanks Rueben Shaw), and Teflon Pete, thank you.

We cannot know what we need to learn today to prepare us for tomorrow, but with Peters insights and knowledge of the past, we have been well guided in our journey.

Dad, Chris & I feel privileged to have played a big part in the life of the Peter Minturn (New Zealand) Goldsmith School Limited with you. Love you always Lee-Anne & Chris.

Pete's hands at work
Learning with Peter; the indescribable miracle of skill transfer from one person to another

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