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Notable New Zealanders who died in 2016

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/12/2016

Martin Crowe, the stylish right-handed batsman played 77 tests and 143 one-day internationals for New Zealand. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Martin Crowe, the stylish right-handed batsman played 77 tests and 143 one-day internationals for New Zealand. SIR GRAHAM LATIMER, 90, Maori leader, June 7

Maori leader and former National vice president Sir Graham Latimer died after suffering from Parkinson's disease. He was heavily involved with the New Zealand Maori Council for nearly 40 years, and was one of the first of three on the Waitangi Council. Sir Graham was also spokesman for Ngati Whatua, and held positions as chairman of the Crown Forest Rental Trust, and a member of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1980.

HELEN KELLY, 52, unionist, Oct 14

Helen Kelly lost her battle with lung cancer after being diagnosed in February 2015. She was the president of Council of Trade Unions from 2007-2015 and held senior positions with both the New Zealand Institute of Education and what is now the New Zealand Tertiary Education Union. Ms Kelly was an outspoken advocate for better safety standards, and after the Pike River Mine disaster she worked for improved safety standards and justice through the courts for the miners' families.

RAY COLUMBUS, 74, musician, Nov 29

Columbus was the first Kiwi to record an single that went No 1 overseas, with the 1964 hit She's A Mod by Ray Columbus and the Invaders. He also gave the world a signature dance move, mentored a host of successful local entertainers and was behind another 60s hit, Till We Kissed, which sold over 50,000 copies in 1965. He had been sick since a heart attack in 2004 and strokes in 2008 and 2012 and revealed he was terminally ill midway through 2013, suffering from an immune deficiency problem. In his 2011 biography he revealed he smoked for 30 years, which he blamed for his later heart attack, and that he had drinking problems.

CHRIS AMON, 73, Formula One racing driver, Aug 3

Amon, considered the greatest driver never to win a Formula One race, was one of a trio of New Zealand F1 drivers in the 1960s and 70s, the others being Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme. During his 14-year F1 career, which included three seasons with iconic Italian marque Ferrari, Amon made 96 starts, five of them from pole, and finished 11 times on the podium. He never managed to get the chequered flag, with bad luck often cited as the reason.

MARTIN CROWE, 53, cricketer, March 3

Possibly one of the significant yet not unexpected deaths of 2016 was that of cricket player and commentator Martin Crowe, after losing his battle with lymphoma, first diagnosed in September 2014. The stylish right-handed batsman played 77 tests and 143 one-day internationals for New Zealand. He scored 5444 test runs at an average of 45.36, including 17 centuries and 18 half centuries.

BOB THOMAS, 76, long jumper, Jan 26

Bob Thomas died with his national long jump record of 8.05m still unsurpassed, 48 years after setting it. He was the only New Zealander to ever clear the eight metre mark, and in Peter Heidenstrom's Athletes of the Century, Thomas was noted as "probably the slowest man to long jump over eight metres, he depended almost entirely on the tremendous lift he got off the long jump board".

ROBERT TIZARD, 91, Labour politician, Jan 28

Labour politician, Bob Tizard, became deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister in 1974 under Sir Wallace Rowling, who succeeded Norm Kirk after his sudden death. As finance minister, he implemented lower tax rates for many on low incomes, brought in standard tertiary bursary, and increased low-cost lending for housing.

DR RANGINUI WALKER, 83, academic, Feb 28

Dr Ranginui Walker died one day shy of his 84th birthday. He was an educator and historian. He wrote Sir Apirana Ngata's biography as well as the master carver, Paki Harrison's. His column in the Listener ran for 20 years. Dr Walker became secretary and later chairman of the Auckland District Maori Council, and was appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2003.

FRANCIS TORLEY, 75, producer and reporter, March 27

The gravelly voice behind Country Calendar, Francis "Frank" Torley, died after a short, sharp battle with cancer. He was a reporter, producer, newsreader, Top Town presenter, documentary maker but was best known for his work on Country Calendar, which spanned almost 50 years.

KURTIS HAIU, 31, rugby player, April 13

Former Blues rugby player died aged 31 after a long battle with cancer. He played 53 times for the Blues between 2006 and 2011.

BILL SEVESI, 92, singer, April 23

New Zealand music pioneer Bill Sevesi died at the age of 92. He and his band, The Islanders, had a 16 year residency at Auckland's Orange Ballroom. He was a prolific recording artist, and mentored musicians including The Yandall sisters and Annie Crummer.

DR IDA GASKIN, 96, Shakespeare Authority and Mastermind winner, Jan 8

The former New Plymouth Girls' High School English teacher, who was considered the country's foremost authority on William Shakespeare, died in New Plymouth in January. She was the first female in New Zealand to win Mastermind, in 1983.

JUDGE JAMES WEIR, 65, Rotorua District Court judge & Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority chair, Jan 10

Judge Weir had a long and successful law career, presiding over the Rotorua District Court for 15 years before being appointed chair of the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority in April 2015. It's most likely that Judge Weir died after suffering a stroke, and falling through a glass door.

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