Thursday, 12 December 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

A totara has fallen

On Tuesday last week the Mercury Bay community awoke to the sad news that Senior Constable Pat Doak, known to everyone as “Policeman Pat,” passed away. He was 62 years old.

Pat suffered a medical incident at home on Monday afternoon and was flown to Waikato Hospital by the Auckland and Coromandel Rescue Helicopter in a critical condition. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be saved.

Pat grew up in the Waikato, the fourth of six children. According to his brother, Tony, Pat went to school for two reasons - to eat his lunch and to play sport. He was a very talented rugby player and represented the Waikato across a variety of age groups.

After school, Pat became an orderly and a few years later an ambulance driver. He joined the Police in 1985 and became a member of the Armed Offenders Squad in 1988.

He moved to Whitianga in 2006 to take up a road policing role. He was married to Sandra, who passed away several years ago, and is survived by his two step-daughters, Katherine and Marelle.

Pat’s funeral at the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club on Friday last week was arguably one of the biggest Whitianga has ever seen. Inside the Blue Lagoon (the shed at the back of the clubrooms) and outside onto The Esplanade, there was barely room to move.

The funeral was a true celebration Pat’s life. Greg Nicholls, a former Police colleague, recalled how Pat, whom almost everyone knew as a gentle giant, was fearless in the face of adversity. “We once had to gain forceful access into a house where some perpetrators were hiding,” Greg said. “I stormed the front door and shouldered it with everything I had, simply to bounce back. Then it was Pat’s turn, not only did he take out the door, he took out the door frame too.

“Make no mistake, Pat’s passing is significant. A totara has fallen, there’s a gap in the forest.”

Don Edgecumbe, who served with Pat in the Whitianga Police, said Pat was Whitianga’s community policeman. “Almost everyone in the Mercury Bay area would have been on the other end of Pat waving his finger to slow them down,” Don said. “Only if all else failed did he issue an infringement notice.”

Don also spoke of Pat’s support for the local rugby teams. “From the junior rugby players through to the Mercury Bay Area School First XV and the Mercury Bay senior teams, Pat was always keen to watch them play,” he said.

Wherever Pat went, the children of Mercury Bay swamped him and a common theme throughout the funeral was Pat’s love for the children of Mercury Bay and their love for him. This is a sentiment that was echoed last Tuesday afternoon by Emily O’Donnell, one of the founders of the Mercury Bay Athletics Association, when a moment’s silence was held for Pat before the association’s inaugural training session kicked off. “Pat was the grandfather of Whitianga,” she said.

Katherine and Marelle recalled at the funeral how Pat was a wonderful dad to them. “Pat breathed life into every room,” Katherine said. “He provided solutions, he made things better, he taught us to love and respect animals, he was a wise counsel. His love for our mum was the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen.”

Pat would have reached a milestone of 35 years of service in the police in May next year, something he was looking forward to. Sergeant Andrew Morrison of the Whitianga Police said at the conclusion of the funeral that it’s not in his power to make the decision, but he would like to propose that the police grant Pat leave of absence until May next year, in order for him to indeed have completed 35 years of service to the people of the Waikato and Mercury Bay.

Rest in peace, Patrick Hugh Doak. You’ve earned the title “Grandfather of Whitianga.” There’s a gap in the forest. We will miss you.

Pictured: Pat Doak, 9 July 1957 to 22 October 2019.

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