Five years ago this week NZ was shocked by the death of popular historian and biographer Michael King.
Michael was a friend and colleague of mine and I worked closely with him on several projects. One of the last emails he sent the morning that he set out on the ill-fated road trip that killed him, was to me. He was heading away for a holiday, and had even joked that he was not taking his laptop, but "in the unlikely event of an emergency" I could reach him on his mobile phone.
When I received a phone call the next day to tell me that Michael and his wife had been killed in a car crash, I was so shocked I vomited several times.
That the news only hit the newspapers on April the 1st (two days after Michael and Maria were killed in the horrific fiery smash) made the whole event seem even more unreal.
Michael has been influential much, and controversial some. He didn't shy away from difficult issues. He was a larger than life figure and he left a huge gap in so many ways. So I am looking forward to seeing Clare O'Leary's documentary A Moment in Time on Maori Television, tonight at 8.30 pm. It won't be the last word on Michael, who was a complex man dealing with complicated matters.
I took the picture above at Michael's idyllic hideaway at Opoutere, just a few weeks before he died. He was very happy, having just received good news about a possible remission from the lethal cancer he had been fighting. I like to remember him that way.
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