12 Tuesday January 17 2017 News SELWYN TIMES Sensei lives up to Jonny’s memory • By Gabrielle Stuart THERE WAS something special about Sensei – Michael Pitman knew it from the minute he set eyes on the year-old colt. Three years ago, Mr Pitman’s son, Jonny, took his own life, aged 28. Something about the yearling, which he came across while visiting sales in Sydney, brought back memories of Jonny. “He reminded me of my boy when I saw him – he’s strong, dark, good-looking,” Mr Pitman (left) said. “I always wanted to have a horse good enough to name after my son.” Although Mr Pitman has raised dozens of horses, he has never given one a stable nickname. But when he goes out to work with the colt, he calls him Jonny. Last week, his faith in the horse paid off when Sensei won at the Waikouaiti New Year’s Day races. It was an emotional moment for the Pitman family, and for many others in the racing community who knew Jonny. Mr Pitman said it hit home when he heard commentator OUT AHEAD: Sensei won his maiden race on New Year’s Day at Waikouaiti. PHOTO: WAYNE HUDDLESTON Matt Cross, who knew Jonny, announce Sensei had reached the line “with a little help from above.” The name Sensei, which is the Japanese title for a martial arts teacher, was chosen to honour Jonny. He had represented New Zealand in judo and tae kwon do, and spent time in Japan training under martial arts masters. The first name the family considered was Pitbull, the nickname Jonny was given on the rugby league field, but that name was taken. Mr Pitman runs the Pitman Racing Stables with his son, Matt. He said they had originally planned to have a three-way partnership with Jonny. “I miss my son so badly, it doesn’t matter. Not only did he live here with us, we worked together too,” he said. One of the horses he and Jonny trained together, No Emotion, also raced on New Year’s Day, finishing third in the Waikouaiti Cup. He said Jonny had been very intelligent and good at almost everything he did, but had struggled with depression. Trying to come to terms with his son’s death had been incredibly difficult, he said. “For the first six months not a HAPPIER TIMES: Jonny Pitman (right) at his brother Matt’s wedding. day went by without the old ‘why or what if’,” he said. “But I won’t judge what my son choose to do. I hate what it did to us, but at the end of the day it was his decision.” He said there was a big stigma around discussing suicide, but he hoped that would change. “There are so many suicides each year but it hardly gets a mention. I don’t have trouble talking about it because the more it’s spoken about hopefully the less it happens.” On Saturday, Sensei raced at Trentham, finishing a hardfought fourth, auguring well for the rest of the Wellington Cup carnival. Mr Pitman was confident he would do well. Even as a youngster the colt had a good head, a good eye and a great walk, as well as racing blood from his grandmother, Australian champion Canny Lass. “He’s a lovely horse with a real future,” he said. •If you or someone you know is facing depression or suicidal thoughts, the Suicide Crisis Helpline can be contacted on 0508 828 865, the Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757 and Lifeline on 0800 543 354. All three are available 24/7. NEW DEVELOPMENT NOW LEASING! Opening in late 2017, STAGE 5 will now deliver a stunning new open plan contemporary retail centre featuring a combination of over twenty new high quality, unique and exclusive retail stores, islands and kiosks situated in a relaxed fresh and modern environment providing a unique selection of goods and products that will appeal to a very modern and sophisticated demograph. WE currEnTly SEEk inTErEST frOM OpErATOrS in All rETAil cATEGOriES includinG ThE fOllOWinG: providores, Wines, luggage, Gifts, Barista, craft Beers and Boutique Wines, fruit and Vege, Organic products, halal products, Juices and drinks, lollies, pasta, cheesecakes, fish and seafood, fashion, interiors, childcare, photography, crafts, Music and any unique interesting or innovative products or services that may appeal to our customers. Retail Sites and Kiosk opportunities are available from 30sqm upwards. Competitive lease terms and financing available to favoured operators. JOIN US NOW! Please Contact Property and Development Manager Andy Bell to discuss this exciting opportunity Mobile 021 449 256 or firstname.lastname@example.org © Star Media
SELWYN TIMES Tuesday January 17 2017 13 More than 140 students from the city and beyond took part in the southern hemisphere’s largest pipe and drumming summer school. The Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association Summer School was held last week at St Andrew’s College, bringing some of the best tutors in the trade to the school. Canadian bagpiper Jack Lee, Scottish pipe-band drummer and leading drummer of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, John Reid Maxwell, were some of the tutors from around the world who travelled to the city for the event. PHOTOS: GEOFF SLOAN PROUD: Drum major Charlie Moorhead, 12, holds up his mace. The resident of Broadfield also plays bagpipes. SUMMER SOUNDS: More than 140 students from around the southern hemisphere took part in the summer school. LOUD: The Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association Summer School created a strong sound together on the last day of the course. MUSICAL: Alicia Smith, 14, of Lincoln on the bagpipes. Major roadworks on the Russley Road/Memorial Avenue intersection Major roadworks will be carried out on the Russley Road/Memorial Avenue intersection from 7pm, Friday January 20 until 6am, Monday January 23. Motorists may experience delays of up to 20 minutes. People travelling to Christchurch International Airport should plan ahead and allow plenty of extra travel time. The work to reconstruct the road through the intersection is part of the State Highway 1 Russley Road Upgrade. The project is progressing well and is expected to be finished in 2018. The work is weather dependent and may be postponed until the following weekend if required. For more information, go to www.nzta.govt.nz/ russley-road or call the project team on 03 3590700.