Gang members in force to farewell Millie Elder-Holmes’ partner
Mourners at the funeral yesterday of Connor Morris included patched gang members and a knight of the realm.
Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Sir Don McKinnon and his wife, Clare de Lore, joined Lady Deborah Holmes, Hinemoa Elder and her son Reuben to pay their respects and support Millie Elder-Holmes, Connor's longtime girlfriend.
"We've known Millie since she was 5 years old," Sir Don told The Diary.
"We have a lot of affection for her and we wanted to indicate our support.
"The service was very moving and a lot of people got up to speak, including immediate members of Connor's family. But it wasn't your conventional funeral - there were a lot of artistic inkings and leather jackets."
Auckland boxing gym Fight Club 88 was crammed to capacity with 400 to 500 gang members from the Head Hunters, the Redeemed Motorcycle Ministry, the Filthy Few and the Hells Angels.
"There was no shortage of leather, tatts and motorbikes," another mourner told The Diary. "One gang member had the letters 'E A S T' tattooed around his face and the back of his head. They were all a menacing sight."
Sir Don said Elder-Holmes, who is studying nursing at Unitec, "is strong and has been coping well this week", but would need the support and strength of her family to see her through the next few months.
"It's a very difficult time for her, as you can imagine. Losing her father and now her partner, it's just so tragic. And then, of course, anything attached to Millie turns into a high-profile media event," Sir Don said.
Members of the Head Hunters stepped in to shepherd Elder-Holmes as she exited the building following the funeral. They blocked her off and made it difficult for media to get pictures of her.
Elder-Holmes travelled to Waikumete Crematorium in a blacked-out SUV with members of the Morris family.
A convoy of Triumph and Harley Davidson motorcycles accompanied the funeral cortege from Ellerslie to Glen Eden.
Morris died on Saturday night after an altercation in Massey and gang retribution was highly likely, criminologist Greg Newbold said.
"The perpetrator is in deep trouble. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes, I'd be crapping myself," Newbold told TVNZ.
"The suspect would have to be kept in isolation if he was remanded, and if convicted, he would need protection."
Newbold believes the Head Hunters will seek retribution because Connor Morris was a repatched member of the gang and well-liked. His father, Chris Morris, is a member of the gang, too.
Newbold said gang members would view the fatal attack on Connor - believed to have been struck on the back of the head with a machete - as cowardly and not a fair fight.
Banks questions Boag's move
John Banks was aghast when he learned this week that his best friend and High Court hand-holder, Michelle Boag, is the public relations adviser to Mega, which announced Graham Gaylard as its new chief executive this week.
"Nooooooo!" he told The Diary, "She isn't, is she?"
She is - but the former National Party president insists her involvement has nothing to do with Kim Dotcom, Mega's most famous backer and Banks' arch nemesis.
"Mega has moved on. It has a new CEO. Graham and I have known each other for a decade and he came to me about this role. He's never even met Dotcom. Neither have I.
"Dotcom has no management role in Mega now whatsoever. His family trust owns 16 per cent of shareholding, but I can tell you my appointment would have been a bolt out of the blue for him," Boag told The Diary. "Besides, do you really think Dotcom would hire me just because of my close friendship with Banksy?"
Insiders say Dotcom would be thrilled by Boag's appointment. "He'd see it as another nail in the coffin for Banksy," a source said.
But Boag insists she's loyal to Banks - not Dotcom. She sent her friend an email to explain why she took the role after Banks confronted her.
"I've never met Dotcom, I've never talked to Dotcom or dealt with him. My involvement is purely part of Mega's future, not the past," she told this column.
In the jeans for SBW
Code changer Sonny Bill Williams, who celebrated his 29th birthday this week, turned fashion model yesterday when he took part in a campaign for Aussie label Just Jeans alongside buxom Victoria's Secret model Shanina Shaik.
Sonny Bill Williams with Victoria's Secret model Shanina Shaik.
The Muslim sports star posted a picture of himself on Instagram with the New York-based beauty, who is a Just Jeans ambassador.
No word, though, on how much he pocketed from the fashionista endorsement.
Hunter's thriller role
Former supermodel Rachel Hunter, who turns 45 next month, has cut her acting chops in a string of B-rated movies over the years as she tried to transition to a career beyond modelling, to little acclaim. But she was back on set this week in Vancouver, Canada filming her part in the psychological thriller Her Infidelity, directed by Canadian Christie Will. Her agent, Andy Haden, had few details. "She's keeping that to herself, I'm afraid." And evidently her 11,000 Twitter followers, where Our Rach posted pics and plugged her new thespy role.
Jerry charmed by Kiwi
She was the long-term lover of a Rolling Stone, now Jerry Hall, 58, is dating Wellington-born geneticist Professor Armand Leroi, 50, who is based at London's prestigious Imperial College and specialising in the science of beauty and ageing.
Supermodel Jerry Hall with Kiwi geneticist Professor Armand Leroi. Photo / Getty Images
The pair are said to have met through "literary connections". The Texan beauty told Good Housekeeping magazine: "He is lovely and very clever and very handsome."