A farewell to my friend, Denis Wood (and to a stranger, Sir Michael Parkinson)

I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of my friend Denis Wood, treasurer of Scots Collegians’ Association, Inc.

I’ve been on the Collegians’ executive for over a decade and Denis was always present as our financial guru. He was committed to our Association and our purposes. I’m still processing this news, both as a friend and as secretary of the Association.

Many times Denis would be the first one to thank me for any mahi as he was up late; and he had the uncanny ability to break complex matters into bite-sized chunks so that they could be understood and tackled.

He was a man of great mana and will be remembered as a gentleman and a Great Scot.

We were still working on a few projects and there was no sign of any illness when we met last month. I still have his email from the 13th inst. in my inbox when I told him that I thought SMSs were a notch above Morse code.

We’ve had a changing of the guard at the Association with Moana Nuku as chair and me as secretary. Denis was our anchor, giving us a sense of continuity. He was keen to continue in his role. While there are other Collegians on the exec who link back to Denis’s era, it’s not going to feel the same without him.

When you lose a dear friend the news that Sir Michael Parkinson also passed away today pales in comparison. But here’s a link to a tribute to Parky: I know he interviewed thousands of people, but this Sunday Times TVC from agency Benton & Bowles in 1979 was the first thing that came to mind. A great innings from Parky; and in reality, not out for a duck.

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