(Excerpts taken from a speech given by SPCOB President, Evan Bayly)
Bernie attended St Pats Silverstream from 1967 until 1971.
Bernie has publicly lived the Marist ethos publically, and particularly in the past 3 years.
He has stood up for and represented the 29 Pike Tragedy families from New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, England and Scotland.
Bernie and his wife Kath lost their son Michael in the tragedy and amongst all their personal grief, Bernie picked up the cudgels for the families and organised the lawyers and legal aid to do battle.
Like Bernie, Michael was educated under the Marist banner at St Bede’s, and Michael like his Dad played hooker for the Coast rugby team who on Saturday are in the semis of the Meads Cup in Ashburton under the captaincy of Bernie’s elder son, Alan.
Coasters play most of their games away from Rugby Park in Greymouth and this year, they won back the Seddon Shield from Nelson when Bernie as captain, last won the Shield for the Coast 30 years ago.
I am reliably informed that Bernie just loved the travel of away games, something that being a boarder at Stream probably got him prepared for.
When he first made the Coast team and Sunday morning training was in Hokitika, Bernie was picked up at the Paroa Hotel by two Blaketown club mates, Doug Henham and Tui Bromley.
They were stalwarts of the team, unlike young Bernie, and did not believe in training as they were on the verge of retiring.
When they reached the one way Taramakau Bridge just down the road, Henham would say “if there is a car coming towards us we are turning back!”
Most of the time the bridge would be clear so they would stop and wait for an oncoming car, then turn back, no training, bridge delays they’d say.
Well, you have seen on the TV over the past years how Bernie can stick at a task. He would go ape at Bromley and Henham for not going to Hokitika for training, but he stuck at it and went on to play over 50 games for Coast, most as captain of the Coast team.
Bernie’s dogged determination has been evident over the past 3 years with his huge commitment to the Pike cause.
He has put his community before himself.
He has bought calmness to an emotionally charged situation.
He has fronted to the public and media with patience and understanding.
Bernie Monk has made us all very proud of our Marist connection.
He is this year’s most deserving winner of the Felix Kane Memorial Cup.