Haere rā Trish

A tribute to a beloved village member, Trish Delaney.

Photo: Maria Tereza Eriksen-Sohos

It was fitting that our beloved Trish Delaney had the last laugh when we farewelled her in true Paekākāriki fashion under a full sun and a super blood moon. We heard her laugh and her cheery voice boom out through St Peter’s Hall after the many tributes had been made. “If you can hear this then I’m dead” was the opening refrain. “Quiet in the cheap seats” when she mentioned her beautiful young self. And everyone was in hysterics looking at the photos of her life while listening to her irreverent and downright jolly commentary. No sentimentality or ego, just pure wit, stories, and enjoyment at having a captive audience. She also managed to make everyone feel special for turning up to give her a rollicking good send off.

The service was lovingly prepared and given beautifully with a lot of (sometimes brutally) truthful humour by Trish’s best friend Kimberley. From admitting they got off to a rocky start, only to be totally won over by her sense of fun and humour, they became inseparable ever after.

Trish didn’t want a service sheet with her photo on it (much was made about the lengths her friends and family went to actually get a photo of her at all!) Apparently, she had a drawer full of them at home as she felt bad throwing them out but there was no way she wanted to end up in any of our drawers. Instead there was a keyring for everyone to take home with a photo of Trish in leathers next to a motorbike.

Themes emerged from her memorial service – her discovery of the night life upon leaving home and becoming a nurse unleashed her mischievous party-loving spirit. She had spent a good amount of time in hospital as a child and this inspired her to become a nurse. She said that her patients who returned to have another baby under her care were worried about their stitches popping as she made them laugh so much. Two of her nieces (both claiming to be her ‘favourite’) gave moving and funny tributes to her as a deeply caring person who had an envious knack of getting people to pour her drinks. There was much laughter throughout the service which was a reflection of her positivity and love for life, even though it had brought her many challenges.

Trish was one of the only people I used to see every day when my girls were little, and we became friends through our daily chats. She was generous, caring, funny, warm, loving and, it turns out, the life of the party.

Upon finding out she was terminally ill, Trish did what most of us wouldn’t do, kept it very quiet while at the same time organising a huge party. She didn’t want anyone to know what it was really for, her ‘BID’ party, (before I die). Although there was much sadness underlying it, it was a fantastic night where we all got to show Trish how much we loved her and she got to party her socks off, while making sure everyone was having a good time.

Trish was, as Kimberley said, “very organised at organising other people”. She moved to Paekākāriki from Auckland many years ago with her then husband Darcy (a butcher then the fruit and vege shop owner) and never left. After getting up the courage to join Darcy at the old pub one Friday night she made lots of friends here. Working at the Rumbling Tum and the Fruit and Vege shop for many years and being a regular at the Paekākāriki Bowling Club (the Bowler), Trish became known and loved by many over the years, which was evident from the packed hall on Wednesday.

Whether it was babysitting locals’ children, selling you fruit and vege or a mince pie served up with a friendly chat or just hanging out at the Bowler having a laugh and smashing you at pool, Trish was kind, witty and positive. Apparently up to her dying day she didn’t want a fuss and she certainly didn’t want any of us to be sad, and she ensured her friend and MC Kimberley reminded us to smile, even through our tears.

Trish had a love of people, and her hugs were the best. She enjoyed many nights out at the old pub, dancing at gigs at St Peters Hall, the Bowler or winning at scrabble. We’re going to miss your warmth, your humour and your kind and caring wisdom, Trish. As we gathered outside to farewell her, she was paid tribute with a stirring haka. All of time paused as we all felt the power of that moment. As Trish was taken on her last journey, fittingly on the back of a Chevrolet truck, her friends and whānau clapped and cheered.

After her service at the Bowler, over endless, delicious, lovingly-prepared kai, beers and ‘Trishy’s tipple’ of vodka and diet cokes, many people commented “There was no one like Trish”. She was a humble and spirited woman.

Rest well our friend, enjoy your reunion with Mummy and Daddy and all your others. May it be fabulous just like you.