Thousands expected at Sir Colin Meads funeral

  • 28/08/2017

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern are among those expected to attend the funeral service for Sir Colin Meads in his hometown of Te Kuiti.

Sir Colin, a former Test skipper widely considered the finest All Black in history, died on August 20 at the age of 81 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Family members and locals will be joined by ambassadors, former team mates and representatives of the various charities Sir Colin supported at the service from 1pm on Monday, organisers say.

"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," daughter Shelley Mitchell has said.

A giant of the game throughout the 1960s, the King Country farmer has been remembered for both his on-field deeds and his honest, humble nature when his career finished.

He is survived by his wife Verna, whom he was married to for 59 years, five children, 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Waitomo District Council is helping organise the funeral at Les Munro Centre and has put up large screens in marquees outside the venue and in an area with seating for 1500 across the road.

The funeral procession will leave the family home at 12.40pm. The coffin will be carried in a 1938 Plymouth hearse that has come from Napier.

After the public service the family will attend a private burial service at Te Kuiti Cemetery.

Sir Colin lay in state at Te Tokanganui-a-Noho Marae in Te Kuiti for three hours on Friday.

Maori Television reported those there said though Meads wasn't of Maori heritage, he had a "Maori heart". He was a person who had strength in humility, a local guy who supported local initiatives.

On Sunday Sir Colin's coffin was taken to Waitete Rugby Club for a last "Sunday school beers".