Ngaio Crequer

Higher education correspondent


Ngaio Cheryl Crequer, journalist: born Crawley, Sussex 6 June 1951; married 1980 Colin Robinson (one son, one daughter); died Carshalton, Surrey 28 September 2006.

Ngaio Crequer was one of the most brilliant education journalists of her generation. She played a pivotal role in exposing the then secret garden of academe to wider public scrutiny in the pages of the Times Higher Education Supplement and then The Independent in the 1980s.

She was afraid of nothing and nobody, including editors, and uncovered facts and issues that others would have preferred to remain unreported. More than one career hit the buffers as a result of her determined probing. Yet she earned the lasting respect of many leading lights in the universities, notably Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, chairman of what was then the University Grants Committee.

When The Independent launched in 1986, Crequer was the first recruit to a three-strong education team. She was among a galaxy of iconoclasts who joined the paper at its birth: Francis Wheen (diary), James Fenton (South-East Asia), Andrew Marr and the late Anthony Bevins (politics) Alexander Chancellor (Washington), Richard North (environment), Andrew Brown (religious affairs) and Donald Macintyre (labour), to name just a few. She brought The Independent scoop after scoop.

Universities were then moving, at dizzying speed, into a new era. Financing, student numbers, teaching and research were all under scrutiny from a government that thought academics had been cosseted for too long. Crequer led Fleet Street on this story, as well as on some of the wider education reforms planned by Kenneth Baker, the then Education Secretary.

One of four children from a working-class background in Crawley, Sussex, she was the first member of her family to go to university. At Manchester University she read Politics and Modern History and later became president of the students' union.

She joined the Birmingham Post and Mail group as a graduate trainee journalist and in 1976 became municipal correspondent. She went to the THES two years later and became chief reporter in 1981 and news editor in 1984.

After nearly eight years at The Independent, she became press officer at the Association for Colleges and then briefly a freelance education journalist before she joined the further education desk at The Times Educational Supplement in 1997. Here, she returned to her old scoop-breaking form, most notably with articles which led to the much-publicised departure of Roger Ward, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (the result of a merger involving the body for which she formerly worked). She left the paper in November 2004 and retrained as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language.

A Manchester United fan, she gave some of her secret contacts football pseudonyms. TES staff were frequently amazed that she received phone calls from "Ryan Giggs" and "Gary Neville". Her passion for Man Utd was matched by her passion for the Beatles, and particularly for Paul McCartney. He was not, however, forgiven for marrying Heather Mills. Crequer rarely did things by halves: total loyalty could be succeeded by fierce enmity. She was exceptionally warm in friendship, but those who crossed her (particularly men who presumed to call her "love") did so at their peril.

Ngaio Crequer was a lifelong vegetarian and a devotee of old-fashioned bibulous lunches. Fond of dogs, she had two - first Hermione and in recent years Lincs, whom she took for long walks on Mitcham Common, near her home in Surrey.

Her dedication to journalism was exceeded only by her devotion to and pride in her children. She leaves a husband, Colin Robinson, a son, Aaron Robinson, and a daughter, Kiri Crequer, now in their final years at Aberdeen and Liverpool universities respectively.

Peter Wilby and Simon Midgley

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum