Mata­mata Lion Rus­sell lived life full of giv­ing

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NEIL AL­GAR

Rus­sell Leonard Green Au­gust 22 1926 - July 25 2013

Rus­sell, like many Mata­mata Lions, came from other parts.

He was born in Grey­mouth, liv­ing there for his pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion, but af­ter mov­ing to One­hunga he went to Otahuhu Col­lege.

When he left col­lege he worked on some dairy farms at Te Miro, and later, dairy­ing was his main oc­cu­pa­tion, but he re­turned to Grey­mouth where he took up butcher­ing.

There he met and later mar­ried Yvonne Bond, the start of a long and happy mar­riage and they had two sons. Among his many abil­i­ties Rus­sell was also an ac­com­plished mu­si­cian, play­ing sev­eral in­stru­ments.

In 1956 he moved back to farm­ing at Te Miro, then to Ngarua, Te Poi and Hin­uera where in 1973 Rus­sell and Yvonne bought their own farm.

There Rus­sell be­came very in­volved with rugby, first coach­ing and be­com­ing Pres­i­dent of Hin­uera and in time be­ing the del­e­gate to the Waikato Union.

The club dur­ing his pres­i­dency ac­quired its own field and added the In­door Cricket/Net­ball Pav­il­ion.

In 1976 the Greens moved to Okauia where they stayed for 22 years and Rus­sell be­came in­ter­ested in horse rac­ing.

He was in a part­ner­ship which had a horse win two Listed races.

This led to his 10 years on the Mata­mata Rac­ing Club com­mit­tee, be­ing very in­volved in the con­struc­tion of the swim­ming pool, then the all­weather track and the third pro­ject, the new on- course train­ing barns.

Rus­sell was very keen on golf, not only play­ing and watch­ing but with some of his farm­ing friends help­ing with main­te­nance of the course.

As well as all of th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties he and Yvonne have had the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy some over­seas travel.

More re­cently he has spent a con­sid­er­able amount of his time and skills with the Mata­mata Health Shut­tle, ini­tially as helper and driver, later as co­or­di­na­tor.

The shut­tle has been a great suc­cess story, and it led to Rus­sell’s recog­ni­tion as a Lo­cal Hero in the 2012 New Zealan­der of the Year Awards.

He was a foun­da­tion mem­ber of Grey­mouth Lions Club in 1963, and af­ter a break from Lions he re­joined in Au­gust 2004, be­ing wel­comed into the Mata­mata Lions Club.

Rus­sell quickly be­came fully in­volved in the club’s ac­tiv­i­ties as he did with all the other groups which en­joyed his mem­ber­ship, al­though he did not hold any spe­cific of­fice.

As an


con- trib­u­tor to ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion he joined he was a much val­ued mem­ber.

His friend­ship Lions in par­tic­u­lar have ap­pre­ci­ated, and the mem­bers of the club pro­vid­ing a guard of hon­our at the church dur­ing Rus­sell’s fu­neral ser­vice showed his fam­ily they have the club’s sym­pa­thy.

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