Fr Dan Cummings died at home on the family farm at Tuapeka Flat on March 28, a few days after the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed. He was 75.
According to the June 13 Dunedin diocese newsletter “Pastoral Update”, Fr Cummings, ordained in 1972, will be remembered first and foremost as a much-loved and respected parish priest, who always put other people first. He took his religious promises seriously, was a man of strong principles and stuck to them all his life.
He was also a uniquely gifted horseman, a national rodeo champion and a highly successful breeder, trainer and handler of harness racehorses.
Family and friends all commented on Fr Cummings’ calm manner and exceptional skill working with horses, skills that carried over to his dealings with people. He had a huge circle of friends spread all over the country, and will be sadly missed by them, former parishioners and a large extended family. He had a private family funeral on June 18.
In an obituary by Bruce Stewart on the Harness Link website, fellow rodeo competitor Pat McCarthy of Chatto Creek in Central Otago was quoted as saying, “Before he went away and became a priest, he did a bit of living, which a lot of these clergymen didn’t do, so he could relate to anything. I was telling someone the other day ‘If every priest or preacher was like Danny Cummings, religion would be totally different’”.