Spending time with family as good as gold

After the rigours of his pre-Olympic campaign, a little time with his son is all gold medallist rower Eric Murray wants for Fathers' Day.

Mr Murray is celebrating his second Father's Day with 13-month-old Zac tomorrow and is looking forward to a bit of down time after the pressure of his London Olympics campaign.

"I'll probably just be at home playing with Zac and watch him crawl around. I think the wife might have something sorted out but she's keeping it pretty quiet, I don't know. It's my second Father's Day but the first one with us all together so it's a bit special.

"It's strange because I never thought about it, really. It used to be about me giving presents to my dad and now I'm the one getting presents from my son. So it's strange but it's cool. But for me it's more about spending time with the family because I've spent so much time away. I missed three months of seeing Zac growing up while I was training. I want to be a family man and provide for my family but, to be a sportsman and do what we do, means we have to spend a lot of time away, so it's more precious now," he said.

Last-minute shoppers at The Base yesterday were on the lookout for the usual chocolate and Lotto tickets but most were just stocking up for barbecues, family dinners and visits.

Kayley Crown and her family were heading for Auckland where they would meet with a group of fathers to celebrate together.

Many shoppers said their dads would "just be stoked to have a visit" or even a phone call.

A survey commissioned by Telecom this week showed 84 per cent of Kiwi dads would prefer a phone call than a present, and that one in three adult children in New Zealand had forgotten to call their dads on Father's Day.

But this year between 7am and 9pm this Father's Day, Kiwis can call their dads for free from any Telecom payphone anywhere across the country.

So while the usual power tools, singlets and sweets are still as popular as ever, perhaps picking up the phone, getting on Skype, or popping round for a cup of tea might really be all that dad really wants.

Waikato Times