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Des Pike 1922-2007

Posted by SCe Comments Off on Des Pike 1922-2007

Arthur Desmond Pike (Des)  1922-17 April 2007


Des Pike behind with Cliff Holt, Ken Hall and Don Wright, at Piha Surf Club

Des Pike, one of Piha’s legends, died on 17 April, aged 84 years.

The past President and life member of Piha Surf Life Saving Club and Piha Bowling Club was farewelled by a large turn-out of the Piha community in a memorial service at the Piha Bowling Club on 29 April.

Des first came to Piha in 1936 as a 14-year-old. He grew up in Northcote and studied mechanical engineering at Seddon Memorial Technical College (which became AUT), where he was head prefect. He spent much of World War Two working for the DSIR, making automatic gun sights, submarine detectors and the like. During the war, Des represented Auckland and later Wellington at rugby, and Auckland at cricket. He joined the Piha Surf Club after a doctor suggested swimming would help him heal from a rugby injury.

Soon after the war Des married Avis, before heading off without her to complete an Army stint in Japan. The couple then settled in Mt Wellington, raising Gary, Lynn and Wayne. (The Pike tribe now includes 4 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.) Every weekend, the family came to Piha, staying in cabins and then with Tiger O’Brien. In 1956, they bought a quarter acre on Marine Parade North for 150 pounds and built a bach on it.

Des hamming it up. He was quite a showman and great at playing the tea-chest

Des and Avis were both musical. Avis sang and Des regularly played tea chest base for the Puhoi Bohemian Band at the Puhoi Pub. All three children have also performed music, in various bands.

Des served as president of the Piha Surf Club from 1967 to 1971 and was patron from 1983 to 1990. In 1983 he joined the Piha Bowling Club and, true to form, won the first year singles. Des served as President of the Bowling Club for 12 years, became a Life Member and was Patron for the past four years. He also gave sterling service on the Domain Working Party over a number of years.

Several years ago Des moved to Kaponga in Taranaki with his son. He quickly became an identity in that neighbourhood as was attested at his funeral. He continued to visit Piha regularly to catch up with old friends. Des had a prodigious memory and could entertain for hours with his stories of old exploits at Piha. He will be sadly missed.

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