I doubt that Te Kuiti has had a more beautiful day.

For a while though there was reason for considerable anxiety that the 81-year-old, dubbed ‘New Zealand’s Rugby Player of the Century’ in 2000, would make it to the event to honour him. Colin is very unwell, his cancer of the pancreas is well documented; indeed, he has talked about it in public quite often. Its evil tentacles are grabbing at him more each day as I write this.

But I am so glad that before he dies Colin was able to see how much he is truly loved and admired.

Meadsville, a local tribute to a local hero, Meadsville appears on signage all over town today

As someone who was born in ‘TK’ (so long ago I can remember the young Queen Elizabeth driving slowly through town in an open car back in 1954) I know the main street of Te Kuiti is very rarely closed off. These days it is done only for an annual event where sheep are driven along it and the locals cheer and smile. It’s a reminder to all, of the farming and rural roots of the area.

To read this and other articles on the NZ Today website please click here to sign up for a membership. Once a member and logged in, you'll be able to read all the articles on the site.