Inspiring teacher hailed


An inspirational Queenstown teacher, trumpeter, outdoors enthusiast and devoted family man has died, aged only 45.

Martin Wightman suffered a fatal ruptured aorta while teaching children two weeks ago.

Wife Joanna Helby, a fellow teacher, says her husband was “ridiculously clever”, a perfectionist and “a massive procrastinator”.

“He always put other people ahead of himself, which was to his detriment, really.”

He also loved the outdoors, whether skiing, mountain biking, parapenting, kayaking or tramping.

“He was never happier than when he was climbing on a mountain,” Helby says.

She adds their six-year-old daughter Merryn was also the love of his life.

Raised in England, Wightman shifted to Queenstown in 2005 to become Wakatipu High’s senior physics and science teacher.

He met and in 2007 married fellow high school teacher Helby, who also hails from England.

In 2010 the couple bought the local Kip McGrath franchise, which tutors kids out of school, owning it for six years till selling it to his sister Emma Wilson.

A child prodigy on trumpet, he played for local Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services and for Showbiz Queenstown musicals.

He also taught robotics to a bunch of super-talented kids.

Four days after he died, his Queenstown RoboStormers team, competing in his honour, finished second in a national competition against older, more experienced teams.