Happy to have gone extra miles to support son

Highlander Liam Coltman’s father Tom has driven down from the North Island for the umpteenth time...
Highlander Liam Coltman’s father Tom has driven down from the North Island for the umpteenth time to watch his son’s last home game in Dunedin tomorrow. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY/MONTAGE: MAT PATCHETT
Parental dedication goes to a new level for Tom Coltman. But as he says - "you only get one chance in life to watch your kids play sport".

Tom has taken that chance - hook, line and sinker.

For the last time tomorrow, Tom will watch his son Liam run on to the field at Forsyth Barr Stadium as the Highlanders play their last home game for the season, then the hooker is off to play in France.

Tom will be there - he never misses a Dunedin game.

But it is a trip and a-half to get there.

He lives a quarter of an hour out of New Plymouth, on the west coast of the North Island.

He leaves his property in the town of Oakura, jumps in his car and about 18 hours later arrives in Dunedin.

And he has done that about 150 times - driving all the time.

"I think I have been across on the ferry about 300 times. Always done it. Never tire of it and still get a great buzz out of it," he said.

"The first car I had for the trip was a Nissan Navara - ended up with 680,000km on the clock. Then I got a Caldina, it was on 175,000km and had it until it got to 660,000km. Now I’ve got a Camry, put on 50,000km in a year."

His dedication has taken him all round the country - always by car.

"I have been to Whangarei down to Invercargill and every other ground in between. That is what you do to watch your children play.

"I think we have flown down three times but it is too expensive."

He has a dairy farm at Ahaura on the South Island’s West Coast where he travelled between games.

His daughter Eve played inline hockey for New Zealand and he travelled round the country for that, too.

Son Liam said it was great to have his father around and he enjoyed the support.

One thing, though - Tom is not a quiet spectator.

Sitting in the south stand, his voice bellows out.

"When I was younger when I went to the rugby I made sure I barracked for my team. I still do. I’m not a quiet man at all."

Liam just laughs when people tell him about it.

"I have never heard him. People tell me he is yelling but I never hear it on the ground."

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