Meads happy in town but misses his farm dogs

By James Ihaka

Life in the quiet King Country township of Te Kuiti has taken some getting used to for New Zealand rugby great Colin Meads.

Although the 72-year-old grew up and spent most of his life on his farm just a few kilometres from the town, things have been a little different for the man known affectionately as "Pinetree" and his wife, Verna.

Meads sold the 102ha farm 8km south of Te Kuiti 18 months ago, swapping paddocks for an easy-to-mow lawn in town.

"It took a while but we're getting used to it ... It is different, put it that way," said Meads.

"What I miss most is my dogs. When you're away on trips the first thing you do is come back and take the dogs for a run.

"You'd make out like you were working and the neighbours would go, 'God, that bugger is working again'."

Verna Meads said she was happy living in town as she and her husband were closer to some of their grandchildren.

Mrs Meads, who recently suffered a bout of pneumonia while she was undergoing surgery on her knees, is taking things slowly and delegating chores around the home to her man.

"It [living in town] did take a bit of getting used to, certainly, but we are happy here," she said.

Meanwhile, Meads, who said he enjoyed a pint "probably a bit too regularly" at his local, the Waitomo Club, said it was unlikely his mates would ever have to call him "Sir".

He is among dozens of recipients of the country's top royal honours who have been given the chance to be called "Sir" or "Dame" following the Key Government's decision to reinstate titles.

"It doesn't sort of fit Colin Meads, I'm a bit of a rebel, not like Sir Brian Lochore or Sir Wilson Whineray," he said. "Then again, one of my mates called me up and said, 'Mate, you've got to take it because you're up there with BJ [Lochore] and the rest of them. But we're not going to call you Sir Colin, it's Sir Pinetree'."

The 55-test veteran said he would make a decision over his possible new title within the next week.

The title would be an honour, he said, but he had always felt there were war heroes more deserving.

"Sir Wilson Whineray once said we never had to prove ourselves in war."

Meads, who was 35 when he played the Lions in his last test in 1971, said that in between his public speaking arrangements he managed to catch the odd game of rugby on television.

He said the loss of lock Ali Williams to an Achilles tendon injury meant the All Black selectors had "a huge problem". Just who would pair up with likely first choice Brad Thorn was a mystery, he said.

"Brad's a big strong bulldozing fella and quite handy in the lineouts but not dominating, so they will definitely need a lineout specialist to go with him."

- NZ Herald

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