Mike MacGregor - say no more - his name and face are familiar to generations in Horowhenua through a lifetime of contribution to a string of sporting codes in his community.

His involvement is simply immense. But always for the love of it, by supporting those involved. He is equally at home being President of a club as he is running the water bottles.

The 82-year-old was recognised for his service to touch football with a life membership award of the Kāpiti Horowhenua Touch Football Association, at a special presentation in Paraparaumu at the weekend.

It was thoroughly deserved. In the early 1980s he was part of a committee that helped grow the fledgling sport in Horowhenua into what was hugely popular module producing New Zealand representatives.

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Mike MacGregor.
Mike MacGregor.

At representative tournaments Horowhenua teams were always recognised as a force to be reckoned with a long list of national titles, their skills honed at weekly touch competitions held through the district.

MacGregor was always at the forefront of the Levin module and is still president of the Levin Touch module.

There was one touch football game where there were four generations of MacGregors, when he was joined on the park by his son Manu, grandson Michael and great-grandson Markel.

But to single out touch football as MacGregor's claim to fame is like favouring one child over another. He had given just as much of himself to other codes like rugby, softball, golden-oldies in the last 50 years.

Perhaps ahead of his time, as a manager of a team a few years ago, he was tired of picking up water bottles that had no names and was concerned that it was unhygienic for players to be sharing bottles.

So he got a piece of PVC plumbing pipe and drilled holes in it to fit the water bottles, and numbered each bottle so that each player had their own.

MacGregor was currently, or had been, in Kotuku Softball Club, Softball Horowhenua, Crusaders Rugby Club, Weraroa Wreckers and Touch Horowhenua, and was on the committee of the Wanderers Rugby Club.

Levin man Mike MacGregor with his 1972 Ford GT Falcon.
Levin man Mike MacGregor with his 1972 Ford GT Falcon.

He is always the one to take transport, too. His white Transit Van was iconic in Levin and had taken many a sports team to tournaments all over New Zealand over the years, later adding a Mitsubishi Sportspac to the fleet.

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Up until a few seasons ago he was still playing for Crusaders Golden Oldies Rugby Club, his last game at the tender age of 75.

Meanwhile, a marae at home - Nga Manu O te Rangi Marae Iti - is a shrine to sport with photographs of sports team from floor to ceiling of all the walls, and a trophy cabinet to match, and mementoes like signed jerseys to add to the memories.

He has boxes of scrapbooks too. But any accolades and awards are accepted humbly. MacGregor said he was involved in sport and the community simply because he wanted to be. Seeing young people achieve in sport was reward enough.

"What I like, I have already got," he said.

"It's not about me, it's about them, the people you do it with."

And always there was mention of his late wife Patricia, who passed away two years ago, and whose support enabled them both to contribute so much to sport.

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Patricia was the reason Mike changed his attitude towards alcohol in the early days, too, setting an example to youngsters and sportspeople. He hadn't touched alcohol for almost 50 years.

"She told me it was no good to me and that was that," he said.

MacGregor was also the driving force behind Skatetown, an iconic skating hall he opened in Levin in the early 1980s that brought joy to a generation of children, and Blue Light discos that gave children an alcohol-free place to dance.