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Reflecting on sombre times

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13.06.2018

Can anyone remember the last time we saw the sun?

I'm sure some of you lucky readers in Central Otago might be able to say ''just the other day'' or something similar. But along the coast here, I reckon it must be getting on for a week ago.

I've just been looking through a stack of poignant black-and-white photographs of Norman Kirk's burial at Waimate late on Thursday September 5, 1974. It seems a rather gloomy task but, as a passing workmate pointed out, the weather today is pretty similar to that on that sombre afternoon getting on for 44 years ago.

Thank you for sharing your memories of Big Norm and what you were doing when you heard he had died.

Peter Turnbull, assistant principal of Central Southland College, has stronger memories of Mr Kirk's interment service than of news of his passing.

''I was a prefect in the sixth form at Waimate High School at the time. His funeral and burial were during our August school holidays.

''We were requested (expected?) as prefects to represent the school at his interment at the cemetery. We had a long wait, as the plane with the casket was delayed into Timaru due to low claggy cloud and rain.

''Local Maori believed the heavens were weeping for the fallen rangatira.

''I clearly remember the casket - very big, shiny and rectangular - being carried by key Cabinet members. The look of utter devastation on their faces is with me........

© Otago Daily Times