Accustomed to public speaking

By Patrick O' Sullivan

Award-winning public speaker Maitland Manning was lost for words when first asked about highlights of his community-service career.

He said a personal highlight was winning the Norwood Trophy for public speaking but the real highlight was "all the people I have met along the way".

He has been a board member for Central Hawke's Bay Promotions and is board chairman for Presbyterian Support East Coast and the St James Otane Community Trust.

He has served as chairman and president of the Hutt Old Boys' Rugby Club, chairman of the Hawke's Bay Financial Planners Association and was an Honorary Ranger for nine years for the Petone Borough Council.

The Otane Justice of the Peace and funeral celebrant has been retired for 12 years but Hawke's Bay Today found it difficult to pin him down to a time and place for a photo. He jokingly said his main occupation was "golf, scrabble or tennis".

He said public speaking was a great skill for people to have. Through his 21-year involvement he has been made president and is a life member of the New Zealand Council of Debating Unions and a member of of the Wellington Speaking Union.

He said its popularity today was "great".

"The opportunity to communicate with people and to reason and argue your case and move people from one position to another is important today particularly in commerce and civic service," he said.

Times had changed and his four children had not followed in his public-service footsteps - the new breed of man focuses on his family, sharing responsibilities so his wife can pursue a career, he said.

"I think when I was their age I was running a farm, running a business, so you were hard pushed to do all these things. You didn't put time into your kids until they were old enough to come out with you onto the farm."

He does no more public speaking apart from "a bit of preaching" for the RSA.

His family has a strong connection to the armed forces.

He has been president since 2009, and is a life member of, the Waipawa Districts RSA. He is also vice president of the Wairarapa, Hawke's Bay and East Coast RSA.

"I'm of the generation that missed out - I would have dearly loved to have done some [military] service."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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