Editorial: Hero with boundless drive and energy


Just over a week ago, on Saturday, I stood in an apartment at the Trinity Wharf Tauranga and witnessed a special event.

It was a version of This Is Your Life for community stalwart Peter Wyatt.

As a squall raced across the harbour and rain peppered the windows, I heard many special stories about him.

His friends and colleagues got up and gave anecdotes about a great man, one who has truly made a difference to the lives of others and the Tauranga community.

You would have read on Saturday just been, in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, that Peter has terminal cancer and probably just a few weeks left.

The event at the Trinity Wharf was designed to give the people who knew Peter a chance to reflect on his life, friendship and contributions, and share special time with him and others.

There were a few tears. But mainly there was plenty of laughter and smiles.

There was also a lot of love and respect.

Reading the weekend story on Peter, by senior writer Julia Proverbs, I was in awe of what this man has done.

He is a family man, and has had a professional career.

But he has also established, led or helped more than 20 trusts and community organisations in the Bay, including the Acorn Foundation, Compass Foundation, Salvation Army, Bethlehem Foundation and New Zeal Foundation.

This number is truly staggering.

Part of Peter's secret is his organisation, ability to connect and, of course, his relentless drive.

I have had the privilege of working with him on the annual Bay of Plenty Times photo auction, as well as some other stories and causes, and like many others have seen him in action.

When people have needed things done, they have turned to Peter because he gets things done.

He simply doesn't give up.

Peter is 75, an age when many people have slowed down and are taking life easy. But not him.

He has worked tirelessly for the good of others throughout his retirement years, and even after being told his prognosis, is still devoting a bit of time each day to his causes, something I find incredible and inspiring.

Many of us can learn from a man like this, in an attempt to become better citizens.

It is unlikely anyone else will match what he's done.

But if there are others with just a fraction of his heart and willingness to help the community, then Tauranga will be a better community for it.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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