Jug­gling man’s fi­nal good­bye

Manawatu Standard - - Front Page - Alex Loo

Friends of Michael Roy New­man gath­ered to pay trib­ute to the per­son many knew only as Palmer­ston North’s jug­gling man.

Wes­ley Broad­way Methodist Church was packed yes­ter­day af­ter­noon as peo­ple came from far and wide to hon­our New­man’s colour­ful life. He died, aged 68, on No­vem­ber 5 af­ter a brief spell in hospi­tal.

Those who knew him best talked about his deep con­nec­tion to his faith and his cre­ative and bril­liant mind. Although he was best known by the Palmer­ston North pub­lic for his jug­gling, New­man also had a pas­sion for po­etry and used his words to share wis­dom with the world.

Min­is­ter Ian Boddy de­scribed New­man as an ‘‘enigma’’, a man whose life story was a mystery to many. Boddy also talked about how he cared deeply about oth­ers and ‘‘never said any­thing against any­one’’.

Chris­tine Zan­der from Sup­port for Fam­i­lies re­called New­man’s habit of pop­ping in to see her for a quick cup of cof­fee and a chat, then he would be on his way again. She said jug­gling was New­man’s way of con­nect­ing with peo­ple.

‘‘He was a trou­bled soul, but a gen­tle soul,’’ she said.

Palmer­ston North City coun­cil­lor Lew Find­lay knew New­man from his time stay­ing at Shep­herd’s Rest, an emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion ser­vice. Find­lay spoke of New­man’s two loves – smok­ing and en­gag­ing with peo­ple.

‘‘Mike loved his time on the street, es­pe­cially when peo­ple took the time to talk to him.’’

Find­lay re­called a young boy ask­ing New­man to teach him how to jug­gle. Find­lay said he never saw New­man hap­pier.

John Thorn­ley from the Methodist Church ac­knowl­edged New­man’s chal­lenges with his men­tal and phys­i­cal health, but re­minded peo­ple of ‘‘his life of cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion’’.

‘‘He [New­man] had his faults, as we all have our faults.’’

Thorn­ley had 45 po­ems New­man had writ­ten and planned to re­turn them to his fam­ily in Ade­laide.

MURRAY WIL­SON/STUFF

Mike New­man’s cof­fin is car­ried out of Wes­ley Broad­way Methodist Church in Palmer­ston North.

Jug­gling balls sit on his cof­fin.

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