November 3, 2017

F George Clark - 95th birthday tribute

George (with the walking stick I made him) age 96 and daughter Helen

Before a well earned retirement to Waihi Beach, George Clark was a Waikato hill country farmer all his life, taking on the challenge with his brother to finish off the development of steep hill country at Te Pahu near Hamilton started by his parents. He is the father of New Zealand's highly respected former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

George was a keen follower and supporter of our work at the Whatawhata Hill Country Research station.

The hills cleared of bush and scrub for productive sheep and beef production by the Clark family over the years .  The pristine Kaniwhaniwha stream flows through the property down from Mount Pirongia

Looking back up the hill – a tribute to F.G. Clark
By Clive Dalton

At 95 and looking back
Past contributions clear to see,
Great service to New Zealand
Is there on George’s CV.

George knew farming was an ideal job
For those with little brains,
Weak in head and strong of back
Would help to reach their aims.

George knew farming was important
As meat and wool were king,
And Muldoon produced incentives
More production for to bring.

He paid George a dollar a ewe
70 million was National’s boast,
But Te Pahu never saw such flocks
Many suspected they were ghosts.

One PM had been a farmer
And a decent bloke to boot,
Remember Keith Jacka Holyoake
George reckoned a decent coot.

George knew to dag and crutch were noble
And hard work held no fears,
Crook backs, stuffed hips and buggered knees
Could be cured by a few cold beers.

He spent each year with mission clear
To clear scrub from a Pirongia slope,
Today’s young men hide out in town
And live on dole and dope.

George battled possums all his life
A challenge long and weighty,
But his bigger pests were bureaucrats
Cos they were resistant to 1080.

He attended all MAF Field Days
To see the latest science map,
But by the time he got back home
He realised it was total crap.

George missed out on the medals
For services to the land,
Today’s ‘face-bookers’ in parliament
Would never shake a farmer’s hand.

New Zealand has changed since George’s day
With rabbits replaced by ‘purists’,
When John Key bailed out he convinced us all
We’d all get rich from tourists.

George has seen farmers’ image die
And be the Greenies targets,
Not one would know what farmers do
As food comes from supermarkets.

George reared the young Clarks on politics
Preaching MPs were weak-kneed charmers,
And his proof came from the highest source
Te Pahu Federated Farmers.

So lets honour George on this great day
From hill country steep and clean,
And give him our best wishes
Till he gets some from the Queen (God Bless Her).

The swimming pool near the bridge on Limeworks Loop road across the Kaniwhaniwha stream where the Clark family used to swim.

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