Sir Paul Callaghan farewelled in Wellington

Last updated 14:44 28/03/2012
Sir Paul Callaghan
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Sir Paul Callaghan at Victoria University.
MAN OF MANY PARTS: Sir Paul Callaghan was proud of New Zealand and New Zealand was proud of him.
ANDREW GORRIE/Fairfax NZ
MAN OF MANY PARTS: Sir Paul Callaghan was proud of New Zealand and New Zealand was proud of him.

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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.

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.

"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.

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Top scientist Sir Paul Callaghan dies

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