The Soap Box: Sir Colin's funeral a reminder of how life used to be

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 29 August 2017, 5:34AM
Certainly Pinetree would have had a wry smile about the things that were said about him in his home town of Te Kuiti. (Photo \ NZ Herald)
Certainly Pinetree would have had a wry smile about the things that were said about him in his home town of Te Kuiti. (Photo \ NZ Herald)

Colin Pinetree Meads was to rugby what Ed Hillary was to mountaineering.

Having had the privilege of meeting both greats over the years you couldn't help but be impressed by their humility and their Kiwiness. There was no pretence, they were the sort of blokes who appeared to constantly wonder what all the fuss was about.

They didn't see themselves as better than anyone else even though it was everyone else who benefited from the type of generous men they were. They gave more than they ever got and they both had a keen sense of humour, having a chuckle as most things.

Certainly Pinetree would have had a wry smile about the things that were said about him in his home town of Te Kuiti, the capital of the King Country at his funeral yesterday. The thought of interrupting the election campaign for the two leaders wanting to become the political top dog, Bill English and Jacinda Ardern, would have appealed to him.

Listening to the eulogies being delivered in the same hall that another son of the town Jim Bolger used to commandeer on election nights, where he once declared in a fit of frustration "bugger the pollsters," it was hard not to reflect on the very different age these men grew up in and on their wholesome view of life.

The MC of the moving farewell to The Pinetree, The Country radio host Jamie Mackay captured the era well, when money wasn't the motivation for becoming an All Black, playing for your country was. And a time when you had to make do with what you had, and usually suffered financial hardship when you headed off for a long tour abroad.

Meads' gymnasium was the shearing shed, Mackay said, his weights were fence posts, repetition training was what he and his All Black brother Stan did on the end of a scrub cutter in summer and the treadmill was the steep farm tracks.

It was nice to be reminded of what life used to be like when this country was uncomplicated, when it was known as the half gallon, quarter acre Pavlova paradise and where buying a house was a birthright and where the names of the unemployed would fit on the back of a postage stamp.

But it's back to the campaign trail, the cesspit of social media, the deals that have to be done to become the Prime Minister and contemplating the overpayment of the pension to Winston Peters who it seems did nothing wrong other than paying the money back.

The question that now has to be asked in the Peters case is who was behind leaking what by law is private information? If it was political, which is the suggestion, then the party behind it may well have just signed its death warrant.

 

 

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