Tributes to Mac

Text to Mac from Daniel Wyatt, Mac's stepson

Hi Mac, Daniel here

I just want to thank you for being you.  Since you have come into our family I have seen Mum change from a sad, tired, grumpy old lady, into a happy fun-loving not so old lady, and that change was because of you.

I thank you for this as my Mother means a lot to me.  It will be sad to see you go, you are the best thing to happen to Mum for many years, and you had quite an effect on me too.

I will miss the BBQ's and the random conversations we would have in the hallway or kitchen.  You were the best step-dad anyone could have asked for.  A few years ago I would never have thought I would use that word for anyone associated as such to me, let alone with a smile on my face when I say it.

We are all going to miss you very much.

There goes my plan to ask you to play at my wedding (when I have one in the future) just like you did at Mum's, because I always enjoyed your singing.

Farewell Mac, thanks for looking after me and Mum.

Many hugs, your step-son Daniel
From Bruce Jarvis

MAC AND BRUCE - A TRIBUTE TO A VERY DEAR FRIEND

I first met Mac in 1961 when his band, The Silhouettes, played on a Friday night at the Takapuna Memorial Hall for the Teen Dance. I was in awe of these wonderful musos. Whereas Mac and his band were already stars, I was struggling to play the guitar. Mac and Rex Bowmast, lead guitar, taught me notes and chords for tunes I was trying to learn. Mac was always one for helping anybody in need, and generous with his time and talents.

By the end of 1963, I was in The Silhouettes playing bass guitar and singing, and standing beside Mac on stage. We became the main vocalists in the group. I would spend many hours with him at his parents’ place in Takapuna learning harmonies and tunes from all the hits played on the radio, especially by overseas artists. As well as fellow musicians, we became very good friends.

After I retired in 2006, I joined Alphonso Keil and The Kavalliers. Shortly after Alfie passed away in 2008, I became the longest serving in the band. Once again, Mac and I were side by side on stage as I asked him to join me in the band. We were now The Kavalliers. With Pete Traille and Andy Shackleton coming on board in early 2010 the current successful line up was formed. We had a lot of laughs and enjoyed each other’s company, as well as respected each other’s abilities.

Over the years, I spent a lot of time with Mac discussing sport, another favourite topic. Mac was a fine sportsman, and we used to play squash at the YMCA, always very competitively!

Mac joined the West Indian Social Club and played in their cricket team. I would fill in sometimes. We enjoyed watching the various local and international games, either at the grounds or on TV.

Another source of fun for us was fishing. Mac had a small dinghy and we would go out at first light, with Terry Ingham, another great mate. Occasionally we actually caught fish and Mac would smoke them. A smoked fish was always on the Christmas lunch menu or for a snack on a Sunday afternoon. More about this shortly. Maybe the fishing expeditions were what gave us all a love of dark rum. We would put a nip or two in our coffee to warm us up whilst out on the harbour!

Mac and I formed the Glenfield Sports and Drinking Man’s Club. Its members were Mac, myself, Terry and any other waif or stray who loved a dark rum! It had to be dark rum. Every Sunday afternoon we met at Mac’s where we’d watch sport on TV - any test match or local game of rugby, cricket or even league - and have a cold beer or two. We’d discuss any and all topical news; often very heatedly as we each had strong opinions. At four o’clock the cry would go up, “Ho ho, it’s nectar time!” and out came the rum bottle. Membership ebbed and flowed with everyone getting a nickname. Mac was Dr Ditherer as he knew a lot about medical stuff from his various operations and illnesses. But he was also a real ditherer and took forever to tell a tale. This was whether you’d heard it before, or not! I was the Busdriver which was derived from Ombudsman. I tried to make peace after a rather hearty session of heated debate and rum. No one could pronounce Ombudsman so Busdriver it was! The club was disbanded when Mac and his Darling Susie bought up in Kaiwaka late in 2012. Kaiwaka happened to be the first town outside of Len Brown’s jurisdiction. We all learnt very quickly not to say this name as it would set Mac off on a tirade!

Mac and I laughed and argued, had such heated discussions, and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. We made music together and played music together. I miss my mate, and will remember him with love forever. Especially at nectar time!

Morag and I thank you for the memories, and the music, dear Friend. Rest in Peace.
From Andy Shackleton

I have known Mac since early 2010, when I auditioned as drummer for the Kavalliers.  Mac was the ultimate professional, a great singer, and a real trouper.  We played a gig together two nights before Mac was rushed to hospital - nobody could have guessed he was so ill.

We must have played something like 200 gigs since I joined the band, and in that time I can only remember Mac making two or three  mistakes (unlike the rest of us!).

Mac knew his music inside out.  He once told me I should be playing a cowbell in Buddy Holly's song "Heartbeat".  I had no idea there was a cowbell in "Heartbeat".  But, of course, there was, and, of course, I ignored him - as all self respecting drummers would!

When we were setting up for a gig, I was usually last to arrive.  While I was frantically trying to get ready to start, Mac would start telling me a story (or two).  There was no stopping him, even if I said I'd heard the story before or had seen the TV program.  When Mac said "To cut a long story short", you knew there was no chance of that happening.

At the end of the night, packing up our gear used to take ages.  We would be re-enacting Goon Shows (with Mac as Bluebottle),  Dad's Army (Captain Mainwaring), Are You Being Served (Old Mr Grace), and Open All Hours.  We had a saying - "Don't get Mac started on Granville!".  Eventually, our management team (I think led by Mac's Susie), stepped in to pack up our gear, shaming us into getting away considerably faster.

Susie was an absolute rock during Mac's final weeks.  She stayed by Mac's side throughout the whole ordeal, comforting him, giving him the occasional 'serve' when he needed it, and making sure that the doctors and nurses kept Mac as comfortable as possible.  In the early weeks, when Mac was in Auckland Hospital, he said to me "It wasn't supposed to be this way.  Susie and I were supposed to look after each other".  Susie has more than kept her part of that bargain, and I'm sure all of Mac's friends and family (including the Kavalliers) will be on hand to help keep Mac's part of that bargain.