18 January 2019


Its with a heavy heart that I thought I’d let the club know of the death of Max Kerrison, a former member of Orienteering Taranaki. Max had a low speed bike crash in a car park in Ohope and unbelievably, broke his neck.  The accident occurred on Saturday 12thJan and he died on Monday 14th Jan in hospital.

When I met Max he was beef farming in Mahoenui but would show up at club events most weekends and was too good a runner for most of the locals. He was a member of the club through the 1980s and 90s along with his three children. Around 1996 he moved to Hawkes Bay to farm apples.

Max was a great competitor and orienteer and represented NZ in both foot and MTB disciplines for as long as I knew him. Possibly he represented his country in elite and age grade events for 40 or more years.

I think we all have a person who has changed our lives through the inspiration that they provide and for both Annie and I, Max was one of those people. Both of us were new to running and orienteering and Max was our first coach, a task he did with a minimum number of words which was typical Max. “ Run on top of the dunes you’ll see more” comes to mind.

Max was a classic Kiwi hard man and I ran some of my early endurance events partnered with him. An Akatack in blazing heat when I ran out of water with an hour to go, Max just told me a bit of suffering would do no harm. We did two Kaweka challenges together and again his determination saw me learning how to suffer in silence.

After having a couple of hip replacements, Max was slower but no less determined, he started partnering Annie in National Rogaine champs in 24 hour adventure races and in other shorter adventure races. Annie’s chattiness and Max’s silence defined their partnership. Kayaking under very cold conditions in a gale on a lake in Qld, Annie explained in some detail to Max that it was time to chuck in the towel and seek shelter. Max’s one word reply was “NO”. (They had a good result)

Max was married two years ago to Ronnie and our heart goes out to her. It was a surprise to us to see Max’s soft side, but Ronnie brought that out in him and he was a happier man for it. Annie and I will miss Max and the adventures that we had with him over the years as will many others.

We’re so sorry to see him go. He made our lives richer.

Nick & Annie