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Colin Peach: a personal tribute


Colin passed away last Thursday and he will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathy goes to Pam and family.

In the 1950s, Colin and his fellow Scoutmasters Rory Mills, Colin Stevens, Jim Stevens and Reddy Redstone, and Harold Williams in the Seniors, gave up their Saturday evenings to run the Takitimu Sea Scout Troop. At that time, Takitimu was the champion troop in New Zealand, winning the Jellicoe Trident several times running for excellence in sailing, rowing, swimming and campcraft.

Colin's forte was axemanship and we learned tree felling from him long before chainsaws became the norm.

One Easter Saturday, Colin took my patrol sailing, the crew including Bob Croskery, Ian Dunsmore and Drew Stein. As we sailed down the river in our open clinker-built boat the sun was shining brightly, but when we were out in the bay the weather turned bad with black clouds overhead, and a sudden squall hit us causing the boat to capsize and sending us into the water. We managed to hang on to the gunwales in the rough sea, the wind catching the sails and overturning the boat several times. We wondered if we should try swimming to the shore but Colin advised us to stay with the boat. Just when we were getting pretty cold and wondering how long we could last, a fishing boat came alongside and took us safely into the harbour. Luckily for us, someone had seen the capsize and notified the police.

When we were older we often tramped in the bush, mainly along Rua's Track in the Urewera Forest, and Colin taught us the rudiments of hunting wild pigs and deer.

We will always remember Colin with affection and gratitude.

John Johnston