Man­gonui mourns an icon

The Northland Age - - Front Page -

The term was used much too freely, but Paddy O’Leary re­ally was an icon.

So said Mayor John Carter when he learned that Mr O’Leary, pro­pri­etor of the Man­gonui Ho­tel, had died. He was 67.

“Paddy was unique, an­other term that is bandied about too much,” Mr Carter added.

“He gave so much to his com­mu­nity; he was Man­gonui’s go-to guy, and he is go­ing to be very sadly missed.”

Near-neigh­bour Wayne Brown de­scribed Mr O’Leary as a good friend, who had been an im­por­tant part of the com­mu­nity.

“He cer­tainly kept the pub in good or­der, and it costs a few dol­lars to do that, I can tell you,” he said.

“The lo­cal pub­li­can is al­ways a cen­tral fig­ure in a small com­mu­nity, as is the pub it­self. It’s the place where peo­ple meet, and that was cer­tainly the case here.”

Mr O’Leary suf­fered dev­as­tat­ing in­juries that left him a para­plegic in a fall on De­cem­ber 20 last year, but Mr Brown said he had been his “usual cheer­ful self” last time he saw him the pre­vi­ous week.

He had con­tin­ued to take a keen in­ter­est in the ho­tel, and what was hap­pen­ing in the com­mu­nity, un­til the last few days be­fore his death, how­ever.

“It’s been a tragic week for Man­gonui, los­ing Paddy and Bar­ney [the cock­a­too that Mr O’Leary bought in Ta­heke when he moved to Man­gonui from Dar­gav­ille’s North­ern Wairoa Ho­tel in the late 1990s, and who he res­cued from the bar when the ho­tel was threat­ened by fire in Jan­uary 2018].

Bar­ney, who had be­come a pop­u­lar attraction in his own right, died on Tues­day — pos­si­bly as the re­sult of a stroke — at the age of 55.

Mr O’Leary will be re­mem­bered at a wake at the ho­tel on Tues­day next week from 1pm.


Paddy O’Leary and his beloved cock­a­too Bar­ney, two of Man­gonui’s true char­ac­ters, in res­i­dence at the ho­tel in 2006. Bar­ney died on Tues­day last week, five days be­fore Mr O’Leary.

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