Town prepares its farewell
24 Aug 2017, 8:46 AM
STORY / ARTICLE: WAITOMO NEWS – www.waitomonews.co.nz
If you are wanting to attend Sir Colin Meads' funeral service on Monday, the best advice is to arrive early and walk, as parking will be at a premium.
Arranging the final farewell for the All Black great and one of Te Kuiti's most favourite identities, is proving challenging for all those involved as thousands of people are expected to attend. But it is coming together nicely.
One of the stipulations from his family has been that people are welcome and local residents are catered for as much as possible.
Daughter, Shelley Mitchell says: "We know Dad was a public figure. "It is an honour to have people come and he would want us to make sure that they are made welcome."
LOGISTICS AT VENUE
The Waitomo District Council is playing a major role in the preparations.
Several roads will be closed to traffic early in the day before Sir Colin's service at 1pm.
Chief Executive Chris Ryan says: "We are doing our best to make sure that as many people as possible can be a part of this."
The Les Munro Centre is the venue for the service.
The Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, the Prime Minister Bill English, Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern and Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger will be among those attending.
Although not confirmed as this issue goes to print, other dignitaries are expected to include ambassadors to New Zealand, former All Black team mates of Sir Colin's and other members of the sporting fraternity.
Representatives of the various charities Sir Colin supported, New Zealand Rugby and New Zealand Rugby Foundation will also be present.
While showers are predicted for Monday's service, the WDC has made provision for the public by extending the centre's capacity with marquees covering the deck area off the supper room and seating for 1500 across the road adjacent to the Cenotaph's rose garden.
Large screens will be erected in these two areas, as well as in the centre itself, with live streaming of the service so everyone will be able to see and hear it.
To try and avoid major traffic congestion, shuttle buses and vans will be available for public use from the old New World Te Kuiti carpark in Te Kumi Rd at the northern end of town, and from the southern end at the Te Kuiti saleyards in Cotter St.
These shuttle services start at 11am and run until 4.30pm. Click here to view details. (PDF 625 KB)
Sir Colin will leave his home at 12.40pm on Monday for his final journey to the centre.
He will be carried in a rather special vehicle - a 1938 Plymouth hearse - which is coming from Napier in Hawke's Bay.
The funeral procession will proceed from Blackman St, via Williams St and Park Rd, to Lawrence St before heading down Rora St.
The cortege will then turn into Alexandra St, then Taupiri St before arriving at the centre via King St East.
Parking in King St East on both sides of the street from the Taupiri St roundabout will be closed to the public, as will parts of Jennings St.
After the service, Sir Colin will be escorted by his family for a private burial service at the Te Kuiti Cemetery.
Maniapoto tribal members will farewell Sir Colin tomorrow (Friday) at Te Tokanganui-a-Noho Marae in Te Kuiti.
Sir Colin will lie in state at the marae from 10am for about three hours.