The late Sir John Graham. Photo: Richard Robinson

Sir John was remembered as a husband and father, as an educator and a leader, whose passion made a difference in so many lives.

Mourners, including former PM Sir John Key, former NZ cricketer Mark Burgess, and former All Blacks Mark Carter and Jeremy Stanley, filled St Mary’s church in Parnell, alongside Holy Trinity Cathedral at 11am.

The service began with the hymn Abide With Me before a reading from former Auckland Grammar School head prefect David Morris. Morris sang at the funeral of Martin Crowe last year.

When interviewed for AGS headmaster he promised to be “benevolent dictator”.

“The first impression was of a dictator, however benevolence soon came through. It was indisputable John cared about people.

“His mentoring inspired countless individuals to change their lives for the better.

“At the other end of the scale he took great delight in recognising and rewarding those who had already raised the bar.”

Fellow speaker John Taylor, a former teaching colleague of Sir John, said Graham’s “mana was incomparable and grew stronger with post grammar accomplishments”.

Taylor said Sir John was up there with Sir Edmund Hillary as a great New Zealander.

Murray Deaker, former colleague and broadcaster, added: “You knew where you stood with DJ … There were rights, there were wrongs, there were no grey areas”.

“Many of us experienced in a very personal way his compassion, his sincerity and his encouragement,” Deaker added.

Hundreds of Auckland Grammar School students performed a haka at the end of the funeral.

Tributes flowed when Sir John died peacefully on Wednesday at the age of 82.

He was the headmaster at Auckland Grammar School from 1973 to 1993.

After that, he held a number of directorships, including at Renaissance Corp, the University Bookshop and Owens Group. He was chairman of the NZ Education Scholarship Trust and a long serving member of the Woolf Fisher Trust.

He was the founder of the Maxim Institute, a public policy think tank, which he directed from 2001 to 2009.

Sir John played 22 tests for the All Blacks, including three as captain, between 1958 and 1964, and was president of the New Zealand Rugby Union from 2005 to 2007. He was also the New Zealand cricket team manager from 1997 to 1999.

In 1999, Sir John was named New Zealander of the Year by North & South magazine, and in 2009 he received the Distinguished Citizen of Auckland Award.

Auckland Grammar students arrives at the funeral of Sir John Graham. Image source: NZ Herald.

Source: NZ Herald

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