Regardless of Gary Stead's potential as the Black Caps cricket coach, his humanitarian qualities shone through on February 22, 2011.

The earthquake hit as his White Ferns side were exiting the Novotel Hotel on Christchurch's Cathedral Square.

They were set to play the first of three one-day internationals against Australia at Lincoln two days later, before the Rose Bowl was cancelled.

Aimee Watkins, the captain at the time, remembers how Stead and manager Catherine Campbell took control of the situation and led the players to safety.

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"They made things happen to get us out of there.

"A few of us even stayed the night at his family home, because there wasn't enough room for the Australians and us being lumped together out at Lincoln.

"He managed to get us through those few days before we could get home again. His wife and kids had four of us stay the night in their lounge, and kept us composed."

Stead was coach during 19 of Watkins' 22 one-day internationals in charge, and 29 Twenty 20s.

"I found him easy to work with. Some of the comments about his black-and-white management style or as an old-school coach hit the nail on the head from what I experienced. I have a lot of respect for him.

"He challenged us, and that's the role of the coach: bring new ideas, offer solutions, and don't let people get too comfortable and stale.

"He's a meticulous planner who thinks things through. He's not the type of coach who gives a big pep-talk or rark-up at the end of the day."

Stead guided the White Ferns to finals at the 2009 World Cup, and 2009 and 2010 World T20s during his four-year tenure. Since September 2012 he has taken Canterbury to three Plunket Shield titles and the 2016-17 Ford Trophy.

Peter Fulton was captain during a substantial part of Stead's reign.

Gary Stead and Peter Fulton during their Canterbury partnership. Photo / Getty
Gary Stead and Peter Fulton during their Canterbury partnership. Photo / Getty

"He's probably the most organised coach I played under. He never left anything to chance with his planning.

"That will be important at international level. Teams can be on the road nine or 10 months a year, and players want to know everything will be taken care of so they can worry about performance."

Fulton said Stead was forthright.

"When he first coached Canterbury he was strong at putting his opinions across, and I think he still is.

"I don't think he'll be shy challenging players if he thinks there's a way they can get better, or if there's something different they can be doing. He won't be afraid to make tough decisions.

"But, as a captain and as a senior player he was always willing to listen and take opinions on board."