Juggling man’s final goodbye
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.
Mike Newman’s coffin is carried out of Wesley Broadway Methodist Church in Palmerston North.
Juggling balls sit on his coffin.