December 19, 2011

Our esteemed IFCR colleague and New Zealand secretary, John (Jock) Hannah from Nelson died on December 9 as a result of an accidental fall while tramping in the Kahurangi National Park.

John was negotiating difficult terrain when he fell 20 metres to his death.  A little earlier in the day another member of his party had been airlifted by helicopter with a suspected broken ankle.

He joined the Sealord firm in 1988 as business development manager and was said to be responsible for the company's successful move into aquaculture.  He subsequently took charge of the NZ School of Fisheries as the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology's marine studies chief. He was on a number of boards relating to the mussel industry.   He was described as  the father of it in New Zealand.

Visiting Vapi in India for the 2012 Rotary cricket world festival had been high on John and Hetta's agenda. They were coordinating NZIFCR's trip.

John is remembered by fellow Rotarians and friends as a community minded family man with a great interest in tramping and cricket and promoting NZ mussels.

The funeral was held in the Nelson cathedral on Thursday 15 December amidst the Nelson floods on that day which prevented many from getting into Nelson. Despite this, the cathedral was overflowing, and the mourners heard high praise of Jock from his three children, a fishing industry representative and  two of his fellow tramping mates who were with him when he died. And the last over was bowled to him by John Dean, NZIFCR retired Hon Sec, who  bowled as directed by the Dean Emeritus of the cathedral, a fellow RC Nelson member, Charles Tyrrell. So it was like a good slow red wine.

For the fifth and sixth balls of the over, John recited a poem especially commissioned from Fraser Paterson, and then sang Leopold's Last Stand; before calling over and time.