Collins had a 'wonderful gentle way'

Neil Collins
Neil Collins
Prominent Dunedin broadcaster and city councillor for more than 22 years Neil Collins has died.

Mr Collins died on Sunday night after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia just three weeks before.

Although he retired from Radio Dunedin in 2015, Mr Collins (77) continued to fill in when needed at the station, and was still on air only three and a-half weeks ago.

He has been remembered as a great communicator with "a wonderful gentle way'' who interviewed many of the major names in music including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Mr Collins began his career as a 17-year-old volunteer at 4XD in 1958.

He was involved in 16 radiothons, eight telethons and two Miss New Zealand Shows, and presented television weather and news.

He was awarded a Queens Service Medal in 1990 for community services, and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009 for his services to broadcasting, local government and the community.

He was elected to the Dunedin City Council in 1989, and served as a councillor from 1989 to 1998 and from 2000 to his retirement from the council in 2013.

Former Dunedin mayor Peter Chin said Mr Collins was ``a very positive person for Dunedin'', who promoted the city at every opportunity.

People over 75 had Mr Collins to thank for the free parking they got in Dunedin, a policy he worked to introduce as a councillor.

"I know that he was very, very chuffed when he got to 75 and went and applied for it.''

Mr Chin said Mr Collins was "a master at getting people to respond'' on radio talk-back.

"He was a good mate.''

MediaWorks Otago general manager Janine Tindall-Morice said Mr Collins had continued filling in at Radio Dunedin since his retirement.

"He loved coming back and flexing his vocal muscles on air.''

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said he was "deeply saddened'' at news of Mr Collins' death.

He was a loyal and conscientious member of the council.

Mr Collins' funeral will be held at 11am on Wednesday, November 28, in the Glenroy Auditorium.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz


 

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