Pahiatua em­i­grants re­turn to rem­i­nisce

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

Pahiatua’s loss is Palmer­ston North’s gain, judg­ing by the num­bers who turned up to a re­union last week.

More like Pahiatua’s loss is New Zealand’s gain as more than 250 ex-pats from the Tararua town who now largely live this side of ‘the bump’ reg­is­tered for last Fri­day’s lun­cheon at the Cossie Club in Lin­ton St.

With roll-ups, one of the or­gan­is­ers Bill Devon­shire reck­ons there were in ex­cess of 270 peo­ple gath­ered to catch up with one another and hear rem­i­nis­cences from Sir David Car­ruthers, chair­man of the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Con­duct Au­thor­ity, also born and raised in Pahiatua.

‘‘When you come from Pahiatua, it never leaves you,’’ Sir David told a crowd al­ready con­verted to that way of think­ing. He re­galed them with mem­o­ries of his younger days in the birthplace of the for­mer prime min­is­ter Keith Holyoake – a town with a name that can mean ‘Rest­ing place of the god’.

From the Man­gatain­oka brew­ery to the mag­is­trate’s bench, Sir David was fully fa­mil­iar with most as­pects of life in his home­town, and the towns­folk with him.

‘‘No-one has any il­lu­sions about you,’’ he says, in­clud­ing pre­sum­ably the six for­mer class­mates he caught up with over lunch.

The cen­tre of life in the small town was based around the ac­tiv­i­ties of the vol­un­teer fire brigade, who ap­par­ently put on one of the best shows in town. Anec­dotes in­cluded the time 130 fire­fight­ers tak­ing part in a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion an­swered an alarm en masse, turn­ing up to put out a chim­ney fire in a Pahiatua cot­tage, and fair star­tling the reclu­sive oc­cu­pant.

He re­vealed how the im­pres­sion made by a mem­ber of the lo­cal con­stab­u­lary made him want to be a po­lice of­fi­cer. How­ever, his lack of stature back then pre­cluded that.

‘‘Re­venge is sweet,’’ he told the gath­er­ing. ‘‘I am now in charge of over­all po­lice con­duct.’’

He also re­mem­bered the post­war Pol­ish chil­dren’s camp, call­ing it ‘‘a won­der­ful Pahiatua story’’.

Sir David now holds two cur­rent politi­cians in more favourable light hav­ing dis­cov­ered that Labour’s deputy An­nette King and NZ First deputy Ron Mark both hail from Pahiatua. An­nette and he ac­tu­ally trod the boards to­gether as mem­bers of Pahiatua Reper­tory.

Grad­u­at­ing from Vic­to­ria Univer­sity in Welling­ton, Sir David prac­tised in Welling­ton, re­turn­ing to prac­tise law in his home town of Pahiatua be­fore open­ing his own prac­tice in Palmer­ston North.

He was ap­pointed a Fam­ily Court judge and Youth Court judge in Welling­ton in 1985, and Prin­ci­pal Youth Court judge in 1995. That led to his ap­point­ment as Chief Dis­trict Court judge in 2001, a po­si­tion he held un­til his re­tire­ment in 2005. Chair­man of the New Zealand Pa­role Board from 2005 he was ap­pointed chair­man of the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Con­duct Au­thor­ity in 2012.

An out­spo­ken sup­porter of restora­tive and ther­a­peu­tic jus­tice ini­tia­tives, Sir David says in or­der to ob­tain bet­ter out­comes which re­duce crime and ac­knowl­edge vic­tims’ con­cerns, it is bet­ter to in­volve com­mu­ni­ties di­rectly in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

He was made a Distin­guished Com­pan­ion of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit in 2005 for his ser­vices to the Dis­trict Courts, and was knighted by the Gover­nor-Gen­eral in 2009.

Or­gan­iser and for­mer Manawatu Stan­dard pho­tog­ra­pher Mau­rice Costello was ex­tremely happy about the oc­ca­sion and said that Sir David’s talk set the tone of the gath­er­ing per­fectly.

The re­union fol­lows one held a year ago that at­tracted 130 ex-pats.

‘‘When you come from Pahiatua, it never leaves you’’ Sir David Car­ruthers

In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Con­duct Au­thor­ity chair­man

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