‘Hard old nut’ was caring guy
The actions and generosity of Malcolm McGillvray McKay (Splitty) throughout his varied 65-years of country life will for a long time be remembered by those who crossed paths with him.
The oldest of five children, Malcolm grew up on a farm at Tangoio and spent the rest of his life pursuing various jobs and a few slightly off-the-wall hobbies, mostly far from city life.
He went to Napier Boys’ High School in 1951 and made his mark there by becoming champion junior rifle shooter in 1953 and winning the Lady Godley Cup for the following two years, once shooting a perfect score.
His family say he did well at whatever he turned his hand to, and among those things were flying solo in a Tiger Moth after only seven hours training. He could still shear 200 sheep in his mid-40s.
He was also well-known in the farming community for his cattle droves. The longest one began near Gisborne and finished at Hunterville three months later.
Friend Ray Arthur said he was a “hard old nut”, and some of the droves were completed in bare feet and without a saddle on his horse.
Mr Arthur said there were plenty of stories to tell about Malcolm, but above all he was a kind and caring type of guy who had a lot of time for friends and family.
“He was one of those people who didn’t say a lot, but he was a deep thinker and always showed a lot of concern for his mates.”
Mr Arthur said he recently talked a lot about his concern for poverty-stricken people in Thailand after returning from a trip there to visit his son in November.
Malcolm married in 1961, had two sons and lived and worked on farms in Hawke’s Bay for many years.
In his latter years he spent a lot of time on his bulldozer building dams and making farm and forestry tracks around Napier-Taihape Road and in the Kaweka Forest.
His brother, Ian, says he was a skilled bulldozer driver, and, apart from spending entire years in bare feet, another unusual pleasure was having egg-pushing contests with his D-4.
Tall and bearded, he also had a stint at playing Santa Claus.
His funeral, at the Eskdale Church, saw friends attending from around the country and family from as far as Australia, Thailand and Canada.
Malcolm is survived by his mother, Jean, two brothers, sisters and sons, six grand-children and one great-grandchild.