28 Aug 2017

Thousands turn out to farewell Pinetree in Te Kuiti

6:55 pm on 28 August 2017

A piper welcomed Sir Colin 'Pinetree' Meads into the Les Munro Centre in Te Kuiti, where the All Black legend's funeral was held this afternoon.

Thousands of people, including Prime Minister Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, attend the service, with a large crowd in the marquee outside the venue.

Sir Colin's casket was taken through the town in a 1938 Plymouth hearse with the number plate "Pine T".

The funeral for Sir Colin Meads in Te Kuiti.

The funeral for Sir Colin Meads in Te Kuiti. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Jamie McKay, the officiant, said "everyone has a Colin Meads story".

Sir Colin's brother Stan Meads said he could imagine Pinetree asking what all the fuss was about today.

Every fibre of Sir Colin's body was competitive, he said, whether it was playing a game of marbles or racing across the paddock.

"Pinetree was an active person ... he wanted to do things, he was a 'do person'," Mr Meads said.

"We trusted each other and we respected each other," said former All Blacks captain and friend of Sir Colin, Sir Brian Lochore.

"Nobody ever bet Pinetree over 80 minutes. Pinetree always won the battle. There's no prize for second as far as he was concerned."

Hundreds of mourners watch the funeral service from the overflow area in a marquee.

Hundreds of mourners watch the funeral service from the overflow area in a marquee. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Times were different back then, Sir Brian said.

"Pinetree, if he wasn't captain, he always ran out last."

Sir Colin's daughter Shelley Mitchell and New Zealand Rugby president John Sturgeon are also speaking at the ceremony.

Sir Colin's wake was held at the Waitete Rugby Club.

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