Sir Paul Callaghan farewelled in Wellington

02:01, Mar 28 2012
Mourners gather outside the funeral for Sir Paul Callaghan at Wesley Methodist Church in Taranaki street, Wellington.
Mourners gather outside the funeral for Sir Paul Callaghan at Wesley Methodist Church in Taranaki street, Wellington.
Sir Paul Callaghan
Sir Paul Callaghan's wife Miang Lim (centre) outside the funeral for her husband.
Sir Paul Callaghan funeral
The casket is carried into the funeral for Sir Paul Callaghan.
Sir Paul Callaghan funeral
The funeral for Sir Paul Callaghan at Wesley Methodist Church in Taranaki street, Wellington.
Mourners outside the funeral for Sir Paul Callaghan at Wesley Methodist Church in Taranaki street, Wellington.
Mourners outside the funeral for Sir Paul Callaghan at Wesley Methodist Church in Taranaki street, Wellington.
Sir Paul Callaghan
Labour leader David Shearer and Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson arrive at the funeral for Sir Paul Callaghan.
Sir Paul Callaghan funeral
Sir Paul Callaghan's casket is farewelled.
Sir Paul Callaghan funeral
Mourners gather following Sir Paul Callaghan's funeral in Wellington.
Sir Paul Callaghan
Sir Paul Callaghan's wife Miang Lim after his funeral in Wellington.

Family members and close friends spoke of Sir Paul Callaghan's unwavering enthusiasm and passion as his funeral service today.

More than 400 people, including Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Mayor Celia Wade-Brown attended the service at Wesley Methodist Church in Wellington.

The prominent physicist and 2011 New Zealander of the Year, died on Saturday after a four-year battle with bowel cancer.

Sir Paul Callaghan
Sir Paul Callaghan and wife Miang Lim at the New Zealander of the Year Awards.
Sir Paul Callaghan at Zealandia.
Sir Paul Callaghan at Zealandia.
Sir Paul Callaghan at Zealandia.
Sir Paul Callaghan.
Sir Paul Callaghan
Sir Paul Callaghan has died aged 64.
Sir Paul Callaghan
Sir Paul Callaghan in 2010.
Sir Paul Callaghan at the New Zealander of the Year awards.
Sir Paul Callaghan at the New Zealander of the Year awards.
Sir Paul Callaghan
Sir Paul Callaghan at Victoria University.
Sir Paul Callaghan
Sir Paul Callaghan gives a speech at the Labour Party Conference.
Sir Paul Callaghan
Sir Paul Callaghan earlier this year.

Daughter Catherine Callaghan said he was an incredible father who had a lot of time for her and her brother Chris.

He brought brightness, energy, imagination and humour to the lives he touched, she said.

His brother Jim Callaghan spoke of his childhood days, when he began displaying the qualities he was later known for.

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MAN OF MANY PARTS: Sir Paul Callaghan was proud of New Zealand and New Zealand was proud of him.
MAN OF MANY PARTS: Sir Paul Callaghan was proud of New Zealand and New Zealand was proud of him.

"He had an inquiring mind. But the truth was he was just plain naughty."

Interests included fishing, tramping and boating, but most of all he adored spending time with his large extended family.

Friend Warren Davis said he adored his family and friends more than most people realised.

The funeral, which began at 1pm, was being officiated by Peter Allport and began with a Karanga and mihi before hymns and tributes.

Following his death on the weekend Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown described Sir Paul as a brilliant scientist and a "very passionate Wellingtonian".

"He really cared about people. He was a very talented and warm-hearted man. We shall miss him greatly. He was very concerned about biodiversity. It is a very sad day," Ms Wade-Brown said.

Acting Prime Minister Bill English said Callaghan rated up there as one of New Zealand's top scientists.

"A scientist of his calibre comes along very rarely. Sir Paul Callaghan stands alongside Maurice Wilkins, Alan MacDiarmid, Ernest Rutherford and William Pickering as one of New Zealand's greatest scientists".

Callaghan completed his physics degree at Victoria University in the early 1970s, before embarking on an unparalleled science career spanning nearly 40 years.

He received the Blake Medal from the Sir Peter Blake Trust in 2007 and was knighted in 2009.

Related stories:

Top scientist Sir Paul Callaghan dies

Obituary: Sir Paul Callaghan

Wellington a natural home for hi-tech - Callaghan

Callaghan named NZer of the year