Sunday, 27 September 2020


Peter Sheehan - a bowling club gentleman

Peter Sheehan, patron and life member of the Mercury Bay Bowling & Sports Club (MBBSC), celebrated his 96th birthday on Saturday last week with a bowling tournament he sponsors every year. Peter is a loved and respected member of the MBBSC. He joined the club in 1984, at a time it was still located on the corner of Albert Street and Hannan Road in Whitianga.

Peter was born in Whangarei and grew up on the family farm. He attended school in Hukerenui and came from a family of five siblings - one brother and four sisters.

Peter is a returned serviceman. He served in World War II with the 24th Battalion in Italy. It was in Christchurch, while he was recuperating after having been injured with shrapnel in his back, where he met Daisy, his future wife.

Peter married Daisy in 1947. They had been married for 47 years when she passed away in 1995.   Peter and Daisy had three children - Peter Jnr, also a member of the MBBSC, Pam from Invercargill and Chrissie, who works in the kitchen and mows the lawns at the club. Peter Jnr and Chrissie live with their father, who has seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and six-great- great-grandchildren.

Peter worked as a diesel mechanic in the Pureora Forest in the King Country in the 1950s. In the early 1970s he went to Jayapura in New Guinea and worked in logging operations and roading. Daisy joined him sometime later.

The family shifted to Whitianga in 1973, where Peter worked as a mechanic on a fishing boat for Sealord. Peter and Daisy with their three young children had camped at Brophy’s Beach every Christmas from 1960, so the family have a long association with Mercury Bay.

Peter had been involved in the MBBSC in various rolls, including a period as greenkeeper, and still helps with anything outside, including the mowers and other mechanical equipment. After Daisy’s passing, the club very much became Peter’s life and although he has been a tireless worker on the club grounds, he has managed to avoid being involved in the administration of the club.

Peter has several bowling achievements to his name, including a Thames Valley Centre title and many singles, triples and fours club championships. 

Peter first sponsored the tournament that was played on Saturday last week in 2013 on his 90th birthday and has done so each year since. His own team won the trophy on two occasions. He usually plays in the tournament with his daughter, Pam (an accomplished bowler who holds 25 singles and pairs Southland titles), his son-in-law, Peter Calder (a Bluff boy who come to Whitianga every year but was unable to play in the tournament this year because of a knee operation) and his son, Peter Jnr (previously an outstanding rugby league player who still participates in golden oldies tournaments). The team’s playing uniform at the tournament is always rugby league golden oldie shirts.

How does Peter fill in his time these days? He’s a great Sudoku player, he wades in the water at the beach most days, he plays roll-up bowls at least three times a week, he plays in most of the MBSC tournaments and he takes no medication.

How can Peter be summarised? A real gentleman - gentle, very quiet and still a very good bowler at 96.

Pictured: Peter Sheehan, aged 96, is a loved and respected member of the Mercury Bay Bowling & sports Club.


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