A man whose contribution to Cromwell and the broader Central Otago district was “possibly unequalled” has been remembered at a service honouring his life and work.
Michael Paardekooper, who had been battling Parkinson’s disease and cancer, died at his home last Thursday.
He was farewelled by his proud community at a service in a packed Cromwell Memorial Hall on Tuesday and remembered as a caring and dedicated husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, businessman, community leader and champion of Central Otago hockey.
With his “great mate” Terry Emmitt, Mr Paardekooper had driven the construction of first Cromwell’s sand turf, then its redevelopment into an Olympic-level water turf.
He gave lengthy service in local government, on the Cromwell Community Board and Central Otago District Council, and was a significant business leader and advocate, particularly with his family’s Paper Plus franchises.
Community board chairman Neil Gillespie said last week Mr Paardekooper was “one of our Cromwell stalwarts and leaders” and it was “almost hard to sum up” how much he had done.
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said Mr Paardekooper’s contributions to Cromwell and the broader Central Otago and sporting community were “colossal and possibly unequalled”.
Speakers at Mr Paardekooper’s service remembered the fierce way he championed Central Otago and pursued opportunities.
Celebrant Dave Ramsay said Mr Paardekooper wanted to make life in Cromwell “a better place” and was a powerful magnet for others who similarly loved Central Otago and could make things happen.
Mr Paardekooper was featured on TVNZ’s “Good Sorts” section last year, which announced the amenities building at the Cromwell hockey turf had been named the Paardekooper Pavilion in Mr Paardekooper’s honour.