One of Country Calendar’s early programmes was screening when we got to the Darfield Recreation Centre for Pat Morrison’s funeral on Friday.
He was a young man when it was filmed, about 50 years ago, but the programme showed Pat had already achieved a lot in and for farming and the community.
He continued to do even more.
Tributes could only touch on all he had done and done so well.
However, you could have walked in to the service not knowing him, and come out with a deep appreciation of him as a farmer, farming leader, community stalwart, family man and friend.
Retired Darfield farmer Pat Morrison will be remembered for his relentless energy as the founding chairman driving out the Central Plains Water (CPW) irrigation scheme.
The farmer, irrigation champion and big business director died this week in his early 80s.
In a ceremony last month marking the first turn of the sod by Prime Minister John Key, Morrison confided that, along with others, he had spent as many as 800 days working on the scheme.
Longtime friend Fred Bull said if the truth was known, he’d probably devoted more of his time.
“It would be 800 full days because there was a lot of weeks he was in Christchurch for a day or two and I don’t think it would be there without his tenacity.”
During a long farming history Morrison was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship and AC Cameron Medal and recognised for his services to farming in the honours list in the 1990s.
His commitment to public duty began as secretary of the local cricket club in 1951 and more than 60 years later he was still an active director on the CPW board, resigning as chairman after nine years in 2012.
He served with Federated Farmers, the Young Farmers Club and Malvern A & P Association and was a director of the BNZ bank. He took on the hard jobs as chairman of the New Zealand Wool Board and New Zealand Wool Services International and was a chief opponent of a proposal to put a landfill in the Malvern Hills.
Morrison had the mix of business and farming skills and connections through the industry to make him the perfect choice to lead Central Plains Water, said board member and Buddle Findlay partner Willy Palmer.
“He was respected by everyone and gave everything to any cause he pursued and did it with style and with a great sense of humour. … I don’t believe anyone else had the necessary skills to take Central Plains from a start-up company to where it got to when he resigned as chairman.” . . .
Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairwoman Jeanette Maxwell said Morrison was respected by farmers for his work with Canterbury irrigation and before that with the wool industry.
“Back when I was a little girl he did a lot of work in the wool industry. He was a strong rural man and passionate about his industry. Along the way he provided strong leadership and would really drive to get things achieved.” . . .
He was a good man who gave far more than he got. His sudden death has left a big hole in his family, farming, the community and New Zealand.