Tree to honour 'giant totara' unveiled

By Lawrence Gullery

The phrase "a giant totara tree has fallen" was used to describe the figure of well-known Hawke's Bay businessman the late Graeme Lowe when he died a year ago today.

To make sure his deeds in the community were not forgotten, a symbolic totara tree has been planted in Havelock North and will be marked by a special service this afternoon.

The tree was planted at the Havelock North Domain on Friday and the plaque at its base will be unveiled in front of Mr Lowe's family and the community.

The domain was where hundreds of people farewelled Mr Lowe, 77, shortly after his funeral service at nearby St Luke's on the afternoon of July 22, 2012. His body put aboard the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter, a service he had supported for many years, which had landed at the domain to take Mr Lowe on one final trip over the Bay.

Havelock North Business Association had been working with the Hastings District Council on an initiative to publicly remember Mr Lowe.

Association president Adrienne Pierce said Mr Lowe's family live in Havelock North and remain involved with the community.

"His funeral was so big because he did so much for the people of Hawke's Bay. The question was, how could we do something for him in the village?

"We came up with the idea of planting a totara tree and went through the process of taking [it] to the council."

Mrs Pierce said the association contacted Mr Lowe's family to suggest the idea. "They were overwhelmed that we were planning to do this. They were very grateful and so they have been very supportive."

The ceremony will be held at 3pm. Representatives from Mihiroa Marae, at nearby Pakipaki, will help welcome guests.

The association hoped the tree would be the first of many to be planted under the council's reserve management plan, which is currently being reviewed.

Mr Lowe lost his battle against Parkinson's disease but his work in the community continues to be an inspiration to many.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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