Craig Norgate was in London last month with his wife and family, when he died suddenly.
Palmerston North Emeritus Bishop Owen Dolan and Stratford parish priest Msgr Dave Bell, SM, officiated at the funeral service.
Msgr Bell told NZ Catholic that Mr Norgate’s early schooling was at St Joseph’s Primary School in Hawera. He went from there to Hawera High School.
Former Hawera High School teacher and one-time Taranaki rugby coach Bill Batchelor spotted Norgate’s brilliance early on.
“When I first enrolled Craig Norgate we did IQ tests, and he was the brightest kid I’ve ever tested.”
Mr Norgate’s brother, Geoff, told about 700 family members, friends, colleagues, business leaders and politicians that Craig had “retired at 50” from what had been an “amazing race” through life.
“Despite having the biggest job in New Zealand at one stage, despite him having this huge intellectual capacity, amazing vision and purpose, in whatever he was doing at the time, to those who knew him well, he was always just Craig.
“Taranaki was where he was from, it kept him grounded and he would always find a reason to return when he could.”
Msgr Bell, in his homily, said it is not death that frightens people but a life without meaning.
“I don’t think we can say that of Craig.”
He not only worked hard, but played hard. “He enjoyed his rugby in particular.”
He was able to touch people.
He once made an ordinary occasion for a young boy into something special because he wanted to help, and it was his nature to reach out to others.
“During his life he has touched the hearts of many: in work or in play, his friends and especially his family.”
Speaking to him directly, he said: “You have loomed large in the lives of so many in this world, and we are grateful for that. Now that you have departed this life, may God welcome you with open arms
into eternal life, reward you for your faithfulness, your love and
the many kindnesses you have extended to others.
“May your soul rest in peace.”