The man who designed and built the soundshell at the Bowl of Brooklands has died
One of the original creators of New Plymouth's Bowl of Brooklands has died peacefully in Motueka.
Robin George Sinclair, 91, an architect, schoolteacher and artist was the designer of the original soundshell and its supporting parabolic arch at the Bowl.
He was also one of the tireless workers who built the structure in a scrubby valley south of Pukekura Park more than 60 years ago.
The Bowl now has an international reputation attracting famous performers from around the world and become centrepiece for the equally well-known Womad festival.
Friend and associate Lance-Girling-Butcher said Sinclair was one of life's natural gentlemen.
"He taught me technical drawing at New Plymouth Boys High School and he was one of those outstanding teachers who never needed to raise his voice to get control."
Another friend and student, Lester Earl said "Singe", a popular nickname for Sinclair, was one of a handful of teachers who encouraged students to think outside the square.
"He worked strenuously to build and keep the Bowl going in the early years and was also good in converting students into Bowl fans to work among the volunteers who slaved after work and at weekends to build and keep the Bowl going in the early years."
Original Bowl trust secretary Sheila Connell said Sinclair's dedication, hard work and skill made him a much respected member of the dedicated group that created the Bowl.
"He was a lovely man and a good friend to everyone."
He chaired a committee which organised a reunion celebrating the Bowl's 50th anniversary in 2008 - one of his contributions to this was to recreate a scale model of the original Bowl which was put on display at the reunion.
He willingly helped produce a book on the history of the Bowl which is still available through Taranaki Hospice.
Sinclair and his wife Jessie arrived from Scotland more than 70 years ago and he started working for the Taranaki Education Board before going on to teach at New Plymouth Boys High School.
He was an accomplished potter (even created his own kiln at his home) an artist and an enthusiastic outdoors man, maintaining a low golfing handicap well into his 80s.
Being a keen Scotsman, he founded the New Plymouth Scottish Country Dancing Club in 1954-55, which is still dancing strong all these years later.
He was one of the original "tree-huggers" and both he and Jessie enjoyed classical music.
After his wife suffered a bad accident and his own health began to deteriorate the couple moved to Motueka to be near family and Jessie died two months ago.
The couple are survived by two daughters and several grandchildren.