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THOMAS, Richard

New Zealand

Died 19th of September 2020

Richard THOMAS Funeral Notice-Death Notice-Obituary

Family Announcement: "Richard would want this to be a celebration of a life well-lived; accordingly please feel welcome to dress comfortably, with funeral attire not required. An online streaming of the service will be available."

Richard THOMAS Funeral Service Details or Message Continued:

"A service to celebrate the life of Richard Thomas (2 March 1935 - 19 September 2020), beloved husband of Avon and father of Bevan and Huw, will be held at the Tamaki Yacht Club, 30 Tamaki Drive, Mission Bay, Auckland, on Friday 16 October at 2pm"

"Please contact (Email removed by HonourThem) if you have any questions or would like the details for the online viewing"

Send a sympathy gift to the family of Richard

Service: Saturday 19th of September 2020

Obituary originally published: The New Zealand Herald on 10th of October 2020

This HonourThem publication is not serving as the official obituary announcement by the family. HonourThem learned about the death of Richard THOMAS through obituary notice publications on: The New Zealand Herald 10/10/2020. HonourThem quotes the words of Richard THOMAS death notice/obituary directly. Find Grief Support

What do you remember most about Richard?  Pay your respects, share your memories, photographs & videos and leave a message of condolence below

4 condolences on “THOMAS, Richard”

  1. There’s so many good and positive things to include here, going all the way back to those weird, wired, wonderful days at Avalon when TV One was just an urchin brat, finding its feet, and Richard had arrived fresh from the Beeb as head of Documentaries and Information Programmes, or some such title elevated title. All sorts of great ideas came out his new area of a new channel, most obviously, and still enduring, the now classic Kiwi show, Fair Go. It was Richard’s creation, and his alone, and it’s created its own galaxy of stars, not least Brian Edwards and Kevin Milne. One of whom went on to offer media training for politicians, the other to sell carpets. So I guess you could say the first helped pull the wool over our eyes, the second put in under our feet. All thanks to you, Richard. And that’s by no means where the thanks ends. There’s so much to be thankful for; a lifetime of ideas, series and programmes, great and small that stand as your strong and substantial legacy in an ephemeral industry. Television doesn’t last. It’s an instant thing, going as soon as it’s come. And it’s all too often an irrelevant thing too, mere fluff and floss and frippery, trivial, trite, trendy, tacky or banal. But you always wanted it to be more and do more, Richard. You believed it should widen horizons, shed light, enrich people in some way, great or small. And you put as lifetime into trying to make that happen.
    Richard used to talk of Infotainment, in fact, if memory serves, he set up a company called Infotainment (grovelling apologies if I’m wrong, sir. I can hear you chuckling now.) But either by way of company or comment, he wanted television to challenge itself and its audience. Maybe it was a bit of that old British BBC Lord Reith “educate, entertain and inform” credo that you’d imbued in your time as a documentary maker before carrying it south to the antipodes. Maybe it was always your own vision and mission. Whatever it was, it never left you. From go to whoa, Richard, you maintained a stubborn determination to make the best of television and bring the best to television. Not only by making programmes that enriched their audience but by producing them in a way that brought new people into the industry, giving them skills and growing those skills. Your short film series shot in Otago with newcomers to the industry, the tabletop dramas, the script workshops – one of which you even brought to Oamaru – and the ideas you tirelessly tried to launch up in Northland speak for you and that fierce passion you had to make a difference and shared gift.
    There’s all the work you did down in Dunedin for Wild South and in Australia with ABC Television, of which I know little, plus plenty more besides. Over the years, we started ideas and collaborated on a number of projects, docos, dramas, a film script based on an Australian young reader novel you wanted to shoot up in Whangerai. It was always fun, often frustrating, mainly because other people couldn’t see or wouldn’t see the potential you’d originally spotted in an ideas, but also because of simpler things like computer incompatibility or dodgy phone lines. Such is life for two old geezers unable to enlist some bright young thing (like a smart son of daughter) to navigate the murky depths of the internet and its ilk.
    That said, it never stopped being enjoyable and stimulating and I truly hope there’s enough up there on your trusty laptop or lurking in your files to, perhaps, still let one or other of your ideas see the light and hit the screen. We all live on, in the memory of others, and perhaps in other ways and, Richard, your programmes are a real and continuing legacy of yours. Mayhap there will be more yet to come. “Tis a consummation,’ etc.
    There’s so much more I could say, and maybe should say. Huw, Bevan, I’m sure you know this but I’ll say it again. Your Dad was very proud of you. Very proud. He talked of you both often, always with love and warmth and hopes for your happiness. He talked wistfully of his time with you, Avon, and remembered the good times. He loved that old Triumph he had for years and let me tease him about buying a Volvo for safety reasons. There’s much to remember.
    First and foremost, for me, is this. Richard. Your compass never wavered. You stayed true to your vision of the world and your hopes for its future. You stayed true to your view of what TV could be and how it should be an agent for change. To finish, here’s a story that proves how true you did stay to what you believe and how deep those beliefs ran even if, in the end, in this particular case we couldn’t engineer the change you wanted.
    About four and a half years, or maybe even five years ago, in the lead up to the U.S. Presidential election, we were working on a project, I can’t remember what it was, it may have been your crusade to develop new scriptwriters or we were reworking the script for a planned Herbert Pither drama-documentary, Pither being the first person in the world to build and fly an all metal aeroplane – from a beach in remote Southland.
Then, suddenly, everything changed. Whatever it was we were doing, it had to be instantly set aside and all efforts focussed on one simple, all-important task: making sure that Bernie Sanders became the Democratic Party’s candidate and then U.S. President. Your idea was to launch a campaign that would see well known New Zealanders urging our political leaders to back Bernie. When they did, you said, the Democrats would see that the world wanted them to support Sanders and would do so, post haste. I tried to persuade you that this would not be as easy as you wanted it to be, Richard. But you believed it had to happen, so it would happen. You were no doubting Thomas, though I was. And though I didn’t think we could readily recruit the advocates needed to persuade the politicians, I did what I could to help, gathering names, making contacts, trying to put you in touch with the people the people you wanted to convince. Sadly, mid way through our endeavours, the Democrats selected Hilary and that was that.
    But I remember that crusade to this day. It was a glorious example of your beliefs, your energy, your determination and your unyielding optimism that good causes could deliver good outcomes if enough good people put in the hard yards. Well, we did that and I’m glad we tried, even though we didn’t succeed. Not then, but there were plenty of other times when you did succeed, Richard and we are all the better for that. You leave much more than programmes. You leave your sons to carry your flame and you leave us all with a multitude of memories of a life always lived with belief, energy, determination, optimism, strength and passion. These things stand as an example and a challenge to all of us. Thank you, Richard. Thank you and farewell. It was a physical shock to hear you had died. I always thought, and hoped, that you would survive your heart issues and die nudging 99 of some other, entirely unrelated thing. But that was not to be. It was great to know you, to work with you, to laugh with you, to share ideas, plans, frustrations and thoughts on the future. You didn’t go gentle into that good night. You did live a good life. Good night, sir.

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  2. On Fri, 25 Sep 2020 at 17:08, Richard Boyer wrote:

    Dear Avon, Bevan, Huw and family,

    Lorraine and I wanted you to know that we are thinking of you all at this difficult time and sharing your grief.

    Richard was a dear friend to all of us. He was a very special man who had the uncanny ability to communicate across generations and take interest in whoever he was with. His life was forever exploring and recognising other people.

    My memories start with Oxford in the 1950’s where Richard was one of Dad’s friends who visited us on Harcourt Hill. I think they were both studying PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics). He was roughly half way in age between Dad and myself. Richard and Dad subsequently wrote to each other from where ever they were on the planet. Richard could bridge the age gap between our family members irrespective of differences of opinion. Avon, you and Richard have always been close to our Canberra family.

    More clearly, our lives came together in the early 1980’s when we were all immigrants to Sydney, Richard and Avon in Drummoyne, and Lorraine and myself in Lane Cove. We all had children, and all subsequently moved to be neighbours with little children in Longueville.

    Our paths crossed often before you moved back to New Zealand. Fortunately we have had opportunities to share holidays such as skiing at Wanaka and various trans-Tasman business and holiday opportunities. I can’t count the number of times we have stayed in your various homes.

    Last February, Lorraine and I had the privilege of meeting with Richard for lunch at his favourite stop-off point between Whangarei and Auckland – Warkworth. It was a special time together comparing lives and families. He was in his normal high spirits, and none of us knew about COVID.

    Richard will remain in our family folklore as a bigger than life, high spirited, imaginative, generous and loving man. His passion for his family, his projects and his friends was boundless. We will all miss him.

    Love to you all

    Lorraine & Richard xo

    Richard Thomas & Vitesse.jpeg

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  3. Dearest Avon, we were so sad to hear the news that Richard is no longer with us in this world, he was a wonderful friend to Philip and I and it was a treat to meet him every time he came back to UK , I have such happy memories of those times and will treasure them. Our thoughts are very much with you, Hugh and Bevan and all our family send you so much love Selina ***

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  4. Dear Avon,
    I received a message from Gavin this week to let me know Richard has parted from us.
    My feelings are with you, Bevan and Hugh at this time. The pleasant memories of the times we met together will remain with me and I feel for you, Bevan and Hugh at this time.
    With love to you.

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