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‘A real drawback solver’: the life – and daring restore work – of Noel Robert Smith, 1940 -2022

In Could 1977, Noel Smith was referred to as to the Marsden An influence station in Whangārei to restore a serious steam leak in a defective boiler valve. The operation lasted 18 hours. The implications of failure have been nice. If the leak hadn’t been fastened, the Marsden Level Oil Refinery must shut at a price of $2.5 million—a big sum in any period, an absolute fortune within the late Seventies.

Noel was the primary individual within the nation to carry out excessive strain leak sealing on-line. For his actions that day, Tokoroa’s then resident engineer received a useful resource conservation award. On the parliamentary awards ceremony, Lance Adams-Schneider, Secretary of State for Commerce and Business, described him because the “Purple Adair from New Zealand, an actual drawback solver.” With typical modesty, Noel dismissed the praise, explaining that as a newly promoted supervisor, answerable for 16 workers, his days of particular person heroism have been behind him. He hardly ever talked about the incident or the value afterwards.

An issue solver all through his life, Noel supplied help and sensible recommendation within the office, for his massive, blended household, and for any social group privileged sufficient to have him as a member or director. A robust work ethic was balanced in opposition to a sassy, ​​inclusive humorousness and real curiosity in and concern for his buddies and the broader neighborhood. Beneficiant along with his time, probably the most nice firm, his indulgence along with his ardour for traditional vehicles and auto mechanics was enriched by his potential to share his information and experiences with others.

Noel Robert Smith was born on Could 29, 1940 in Dunedin, the primary baby of Robert Smith and Effie Smith (nee Mears). He had three youthful brothers and a youthful sister.

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Smith's 18-hour repair of a 1977 Marsden A power station leak that prevented it from shutting down.  Pictured is a clipping about an award he received.


Smith’s 18-hour restore of a 1977 Marsden An influence station leak that prevented it from shutting down. Pictured is a clipping about an award he acquired.

Noel attended Roxburgh Major Faculty and Roxburgh Excessive Faculty. Within the latter, he befriended Moira Johnson, the connection who survived the day on the bus when he consumed a few of her home goods, truffles baked particularly for her mother and father. Noel and Moira dated for just a few years earlier than returning to the UK along with her household. Subsequent correspondence between the 2 ultimately disappeared.

On the age of 15, Noel left college and initially labored as a milkman. When the Smith household moved to Wairakei, he accompanied them. In 1958 he started an apprenticeship as a mechanic and turner with Downers Development throughout the development of the Wairakei Energy Station.

Noel met Marie Taylor, who was from Taup, and commenced courting. Favourite recollections of this time have been adventures on Noel’s Norton motorbike. Noel and Marie married in September 1960 and moved to Hamilton, the place Noel took a place at Jas J. Niven & Co. Initially, they lived with Noel’s mother and father and moved right into a newly constructed home on Masters Avenue. Jeanette, Noel and Marie’s first baby, was born in 1961, adopted by Malcolm in 1963 and Ian in 1965.

Noel was a loving, thoughtful father. The time spent at Karāpiro Lake on the household boat and supporting Jeanette in her marching band writs have been typical of a proud and dedicated father or mother.

In 1971, the Smiths moved to Tokoroa, the place Noel was employed by Valve Precision Engineering. A mechanic and turner, he rose to foreman after which took on the duty of supervisor after his exploits on the Marsden energy station. Smith household tenting holidays have been loved all around the North and South Islands. In 1975, Heather, the daughter of Noel and Marie, was born. In 1977, Noel and Marie broke up.

Noel stayed with Valve Precision Engineering for 15 years. Throughout this time, he shared his enthusiasm for all types of motorsports and loved motorbike rides along with his kids. Noel taught his son Malcolm his engineering commerce they usually labored collectively for quite a few years.

When Noel met a brand new accomplice, he had three new stepchildren, Warren, Gavin and Rachel. Noel moved to Putāruru with Rachel and her mom in 1980 and began his personal enterprise, Publish & Rail Portray. As he had with all his kids, Noel taught Rachel to drive with persistence and calm directions. When Gavin’s automobile was stolen one evening in Hamilton, Noel gave chase in his underwear, all the best way from Te Rapa to Hamilton East. He handed on the love of tenting and journey to his stepchildren.

Noel Smith with a Rotorua Morris Minor Club Award.  He was vice president of the club and vice president of the New Zealand Morris Minor Federation.


Noel Smith with a Rotorua Morris Minor Membership Award. He was vp of the membership and vp of the New Zealand Morris Minor Federation.

In 1983 Noel offered the corporate and returned to his engineering occupation, working for Furmanite NZ in Tokoroa.

In 1994, Noel reconnected along with his childhood sweetheart, Moira, after inserting an advert for a reunion in a newspaper. After being aside for 4 many years, their friendship was rapidly revived. Moira moved to Tokoroa, the place she and Noel married in 1999. Because of this, Noel acquired two extra stepchildren, Nigel and Shane. Collectively, Noel and Moira could be blessed with many grandchildren.

Noel and Moira typically swapped early of their marriage, together with stints at Whakamaru, Te Rau, Putāruru, and Opal Scorching Springs, the place they lived in a caravan. They ultimately settled in Matamata and established a everlasting residence, the place Noel may tinker with previous vehicles and bikes in his shed and provides the vegetable backyard its due. Matamata was additionally a departure level for a lot of travels, together with holidays in Australia, cruising round New Zealand and attending a number of Morris Minor Membership conventions, from Timaru to Palmerston North.

Noel didn’t go into full retirement on his personal, persevering with to carry his hand as a marketing consultant for Tempo Engineering in New Plymouth and half time working for IBE in Tokoroa and with son Malcolm for SGS-IVE (Industrial Worth Engineering). Exterior of his occupation, he additionally assisted daughter Heather and her husband on their rooster farm, on this capability till 2020.

Childhood sweethearts who rekindled their relationship 40 years later, Noel and Moira married in 1999 in Tokoroa.


Childhood sweethearts who rekindled their relationship 40 years later, Noel and Moira married in 1999 in Tokoroa.

Noel and Moira’s affiliation with the Rotorua Morris Minor Membership dates again to a Sunday afternoon in 2013 on the Ōhiwa Oyster Farm outdoors Ōpōtiki. Instantly they bonded with the assembled members and iconic automobiles that have been their very own reflection, they turned loyal members of the membership, attending virtually each month-to-month outing and biannual nationwide conference, with Noel serving as vp and ultimately a double served as Vice-Chairman of the New Zealand Morris Minor Federation. His contribution to main occasions, such because the 2019 Nationwide Conference hosted by the Rotorua membership, was as invaluable because the welcome he personally confirmed to new or potential members. This generosity of time and recommendation prolonged to serving to mechanical issues or breakdowns, interactions turned extra pleasant via a delicate method furthest from condescension.

Noel, comfy in his personal pores and skin, loved a particular type of happiness primarily based on laborious work and household. His smile may gentle up any room, his humor was persistent, by no means merciless and infrequently humorous. He was attentive to household birthdays and insisted on coming in individual whether or not handy or not. He supported the sporting and cultural actions of his grandchildren as a lot as these of their mother and father. Taking granddaughters to their promenade in his beloved Morris Minor was a favourite pastime. A person of his phrase, punctuality was a trademark, each in his private {and professional} life. He was a caring, mild and really loving man.

Noel Robert Smith died on September 8, 2022, surrounded by his household. He leaves behind his spouse Moira, kids Jeanette, Malcolm, Ian and Heather, stepchildren Nigel, Shane, Rachel and Warren and plenty of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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