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Graeme McCabe - Obituary



Graeme Jack McCabe has died at the age of 77 years.


Athletics Waikato-Bay of Plenty wishes to acknowledge his huge contribution to Athletics and also his local community. Graeme was involved in Athletics for over 60 years, providing tremendous service at club, regional and national levels. He was a life member of the Putaruru Club, Waikato-Bay of Plenty Centre and Athletics New Zealand.


Graeme began his athletic career in Taranaki with the New Plymouth and Hawera clubs, before moving to the Putaruru club in 1968. He remained associated with the club for 49 years, becoming president in 1973 and being made a life member in 1996. Graeme was a fine competitor in his youth, competing at New Zealand Championships between 1957 and 1971, being a medalist in the 110m hurdles.


It was after his competitive athletic career where Graeme made an even more significant impact within the sport. At regional level, he held many positions within the Waikato (later Waikato-Bay of Plenty) Centre, including Selector, member of Track and Field and Management Committees and President. He was awarded the Centre service award in 1973. He was made a life member in 1994.


At a National level, Graeme was a former president of Athletics New Zealand, he was also a life member and received a merit award in 1984. Graeme had many roles for Athletics New Zealand over the years, including serving on the Board of Directors for ten years, a Track and Field selector for fourteen years, a delegate to the New Zealand Olympic Association (1986-1993) and a delegate to the IAAF congress in Edmonton, Canada (2001).


Graeme’s contribution was also felt internationally as he was a part of New Zealand team management for many major events, including the Olympic Games (Section Manager, Los Angeles 1984 and Assistant Chef de Mission, 1988 Seoul), Commonwealth Games (Section Manager, 1982 Brisbane) and other international events as Team Manager.


Graeme was also a graded official and had previously been part of the National Officials Technical Committee.


In later years, Graeme moved to Mount Maunganui in 2008, where he continued his involvement in Athletics with Athletics Tauranga and Sport Bay of Plenty. His work led to the creation of various coaching positions and he ensured that the Coach Force Bay of Plenty development role has continued to benefit Athletics in the Bay of Plenty to the present.    


The impact that Graeme made was not limited to Athletics as he was an astute local businessman, operating McCabe’s Toy World in Putaruru for thirty years and in Matamata for ten. During some of that time, he was also a Chairman of Directors for the Nationwide Toy Retailers Group.


In his community, Graeme was a former president of the Putaruru Chamber of Commerce, acted as a Justice of the Peace for over thirty years and was also a recipient of the New Zealand Commemoration Medal in 1990.


It is of great testament to Graeme’s dedication and commitment to Athletics that even in his final few weeks, he was still actively involved in monitoring progress in local Athletics projects that he had previously been involved with. Graeme has provided a tremendous and significant long lasting contribution to both his sport and local community that will be greatly missed.




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