Mike Moore is gone, having lived a wonderfully full life. So much so indeed, his last five years of relentless health deterioration were particularly painful for both him and his friends.
I treasure the memory of his friendship, of his unrelenting decency, his honesty, curiosity and relentless energy but most of all, of numerous hilarious incidents with him which would justify a small book. Perhaps I might knock it out. I’ll wait awhile and chat with his wife Yvonne who knowing her delight in humour, will probably give the go-ahead.
Here’s a sample. After a relentless 3 year effort, travelling the world to secure support for the highest office ever achieved by a New Zealander, it all turned to dust in the last 6 months with a stand-off for the role against the other candidate. Of the circa 150 nations with voting power, none could be budged and the vote remained 50/50. Eventually Mike decided to give it a final grand push in Wellington with Foreign Affairs, as it transpired in vain. He rang me glumly about 5pm one day to advise he’d got nowhere and thus would announce he was pulling stumps the next day.
“You’d like to come out for dinner?” I queried and half an hour later he arrived.
I tried to cheer him up talking about future possible activities, understandably to no avail. Anyway, we returned to the kitchen to top up, having left the wine bottle there, whereupon the most ludicrously improbable event in my life immediately occurred to which Mike and I were speechless bystanders. 5 minutes later, Mike, now in a dazed state, was the incoming World Trade boss.
I never publicised it for after chatting to Yvonne one day when I mentioned it, she replied, “The bugger never told me that”. I’ve often thought about that and sort of understand his silence, given the absurdly improbable circumstances.
But so many similarly funny memories, particularly after he lost the Party leadership whereupon frequently Mike, Winston and I would drink too much then dine together later. Winston’s public condolences were certainly heartfelt as he more than most was acutely aware of Mike’s sheer decency and attributes.
I’ve known all of our Prime Ministers to varying degrees since Nash, only Kirk excepted, that for a very amusing albeit telling (about his short comings) reason. Muldoon and Lange, were the standout characters but Mike was the warmest and the best of friends.