- The war is over!
- Te Whiu hanged
- Auckland pedestrian ‘Barnes Dance’
- First ‘Farmer of the Year’
- Assisted immigration resumes
- Wellington steam tram
- Parker-Hulme murders
- Canterbury’s ‘Big Snow’
- Death of Norman Kirk
15th August, 1945
The war is over! VJ Day
Japan’s surrender following the detonation of atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the Second World War. More than 200,000 New Zealanders had served during six long years of war, and more than 11,500 had died.
News of the Japanese surrender arrived in New Zealand at 11 a.m. on 15 August. Like VE Day in May, VJ Day was constrained by public regulation. Again the preparations had been considerable, and the celebrations generally ran smoothly.
Sirens sounded immediately, a national ceremony was held, and local celebrations followed. Once more there were parades, bands playing, thanksgiving services, bonfires, dances and community sports, and again there were two days’ public holiday.
In Auckland, where there were fewer organised events, the city went out to enjoy itself the moment the factory whistle sounded. At first there was drinking, dancing and the scattering of confetti. Then rowdy elements began throwing bottles. Windows were smashed and people were hurt. By evening, 51 people had been taken to hospital and 15 tons of glass lay in the roads.
18th August, 1955
20-year-old hanged for murder
On the evening of 28 April 1955 a cold and hungry Edward Te Whiu broke into the house of Florence Smith, a 75-year-old widow, with the intention of robbing her. Smith was in bed when she heard him and turned on the light. He attacked her, fracturing her skull, breaking her jaw and nose, knocking out her denture and breaking the hyoid bone in her throat. She died rapidly from asphyxiation.
In a long statement to the police after his arrest on 12 May, Te Whiu admitted killing Smith. He knew she was dead when he left the property; he had covered her up before washing the blood off his hands and making himself something to eat. He hadn’t meant to kill her: ‘I only intended to knock her unconscious so that I could look the place over. I must have hit her once too often’. The defence took a similar line at his trial, which began on 25 July 1955 and lasted three days. But it took the jury just 35 minutes to convict him of murder. They gave no recommendation for mercy and he was sentenced to death.
Many questioned whether the death penalty was appropriate for Te Whiu because of his underprivileged background and childlike mental state. But his execution went ahead at Mount Eden prison at 6.59 p.m. on 18 August 1955. A justice of the peace, several reporters, a priest, doctor and selected police and prison staff bore witness. He was to be the fourth from last person executed in New Zealand. The last was Walter Bolton on 18 February 1957.
21st August, 1958
Auckland pedestrians begin 'Barnes Dance'
Auckland became the first city in New Zealand to introduce the ‘Barnes Dance’ street-crossing system, which stopped all traffic and allowed pedestrians to cross intersections in every direction at the same time.
The system was first used in North American cities in the 1940s and is named after an American traffic engineer, Henry A. Barnes. Barnes did not claim to have invented the system but was a strong advocate of it, having observed the difficulties his daughter faced crossing the road to get to school. As traffic commissioner in Denver, Baltimore, and New York, Barnes promoted the concept for the entire CBD of these cities. Despite many dire predictions, local newspapers were soon admitting that the concept worked well. The name came into being when an American reporter wrote that ‘Barnes has made the people so happy they’re dancing in the streets’.
In Auckland the Barnes Dance became a feature of pedestrian traffic in Queen Street. Other New Zealand cities soon followed Auckland’s lead and introduced the system. In recent years the growth in the number of vehicles on our city streets has seen the Barnes Dance come under attack, as traffic engineers have placed more emphasis on the flow of cars than that of pedestrians.
22nd August, 1969
First 'Young Farmer of the Year' chosen
Held at the South Pacific Hotel in Auckland, the competition was open to all members of the Young Farmers’ Club. The inaugural winner was Gary Fraser from Swannanoa, near Christchurch. The contest has since become an established part of the farming calendar.
From humble beginnings in 1969, the Young Farmer of the Year competition today attracts up to 400 young farmers each year. These entrants compete at district and regional level to win the right to represent one of seven regions in the grand final. The 2008 finalists competed for more than $160,000 worth of prizes with the winner, David Skiffington, scooping a prize package worth $82,185.
As of 2011 only two women have made it through to the grand final. Denise Brown was a finalist in 1981 and Louise Collingwood was a finalist in 2003, when she was runner-up, and again in 2004, when she finished third.
The grand final involves three days of physical and intellectual challenges that are designed to test the business skills of competitors as well as their ability to complete farming tasks. The place of technology in modern farming has become an important feature of the competition. The popularity of the event extends beyond the farming community and it is televised.
The first Young Farmers’ Club was formed in Feilding in 1927 and eventually a national organisation was established. The clubs give members the opportunity to develop working and social networks with other farmers aged under 31.
23rd August, 1947
Assisted immigration resumes after war
Between 1947 and 1975, 77,000 women, children and men arrived from Great Britain under the assisted immigration scheme. The first draft of 118 single people aged between 20 and 35 arrived in Auckland on the New Zealand Shipping Company liner Rangitata.
They were met with a ‘certain amount of ceremony’ by the mayor, John Allum, and the president of the Auckland Returned Services’ Association. A sound truck stationed on the wharf played ‘specially selected’ music to provide a ‘suitable atmosphere for disembarkation’. In his speech of welcome, Allum acknowledged the ‘many little differences’ between New Zealand and Britain, and ‘asked the newcomers to be patient and take time to know New Zealand ways’.
24th August, 1878
Wellington steam-tram service opened
The Governor, the Marquess of Normanby, formally opened the new service, which was reportedly the first to operate in the Southern Hemisphere. The steam trams proved unpopular and were later replaced by horse-drawn trams.
The Wellington Tramway Company had begun operating three days earlier, on 21 August. Its three small steam engines, ‘Hibernia’, ‘Wellington’ and ‘Zealandia’, each hauling a passenger tramcar, ran from a terminus on Lambton Quay via Cuba and Vivian Streets to the company’s depot in King Street, off Adelaide Road. The trip took half an hour and cost threepence. The fleet later grew to eight engines, but they were not universally appreciated.
The steam trams were criticised for being ‘noisy, dirty, frightening to horses, and prone to derailment’. As economic depression took hold at the end of 1870s, the tram business was regularly up for public auction. Horse-drawn trams were reintroduced in 1882 and quickly proved more popular than their counterparts. The last steam trams were withdrawn in 1892.
The city’s tramway system was taken over by the Wellington City Corporation in 1900, during the great era of ‘municipal socialism’, and the network was expanded into the southern and eastern suburbs. In 1904 the WCC introduced the much more popular electric trams, the last of which was withdrawn from service in 1964.
28th August, 1954
'Heavenly Creatures' found guilty of murder
The fact that Pauline Parker and her friend Juliet Hulme killed Pauline’s mother Honora on 22 June – a sensational crime later dramatised in Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures – was never disputed. But in finding the two teenagers guilty of murder, the jury rejected the defence’s assertion that the girls were grossly insane.
Pauline was aged 16 and Juliet 15. Because they were both under 18, neither could be sentenced to death. Their punishment was instead ‘detention during Her Majesty’s pleasure’.
Pauline’s lawyer, Dr Haslam, said in his final address to the jury that the two girls had seen Pauline’s mother as a threat to their remaining together, a threat they felt they had to remove. ‘We have these girls planning their dreadful act, carrying it out so clumsily, and then, after it was over, not showing any remorse.’
In the opinion of psychiatrists Mr Medlicott and Dr Bennett, the girls’ contempt for the Bible and belief in a ‘fourth world’ paradise were evidence of insanity. The jury were told that the pair thought they were morally right in killing Honora. The girls suffered from ‘paranoia, delusions of grandeur and delusions of ecstasy. Each affects the other and aggravates the process of the disease.’
The Crown prosecutor maintained that the psychiatrists had contradicted their own evidence under cross-examination. This ‘plainly was a cold, callously committed and premeditated murder, committed by two highly intelligent and perfectly sane girls … They are not incurably insane. My submission is they are incurably bad.’
Included in the girls’ sentence was the provision that they were never to contact each other again. This made it difficult to find appropriate places of detention. There was only one girls’ borstal in New Zealand, and while borstal was deemed insufficient punishment for murderesses, imprisonment in an adult institution was thought to be too severe for women so young.
In the end both girls served around five years in prison: Pauline at Paparua prison, near Christchurch, and Juliet initially at Mt Eden prison and then at Arohata prison in Tawa, near Wellington.
Canterbury's 'Big Snow'
Cantabrians awoke to find their region blanketed in snow. ‘The Big Snow’, as the 1992 storm came to be known, was the region’s heaviest for 30 years. Schoolchildren celebrated when they learnt that their holidays had begun a day early. But the storm couldn’t have struck at a worse time for farmers – the middle of lambing season.
From midday on 27 August weather forecasts alerted residents to the possibility of snow. It began to fall that evening. As forecast, it snowed literally down to sea level. New Brighton beach was barely recognisable.
By mid-morning on the 28th power was out throughout much of the region. Most of Christchurch city had power restored by the afternoon but it took several days for line gangs to reach some rural areas. Residents able to tune in on battery-operated radios were advised not to go to work unless it was absolutely necessary, and then only if they had a four-wheel drive or chains. Many inland roads were closed, as were schools, courts and other services, including Christchurch airport. Hospitals stayed open with assistance from the army and Red Cross, which transported essential staff. Some dairies and bars also opened, servicing the brave few who ventured out.
Sugarloaf, the site of the city’s radio and television transmitter, was rendered inaccessible and soon ran out of fuel for its emergency generator. It was two days before bulldozers cut a path big enough to allow a tanker to bring in fresh supplies of fuel. Fortunately local television station CTV was able to stay on air and keep residents informed.
While life, and television viewing, was disrupted in Christchurch city, it was the rural community that was hit hardest. Not only was it the middle of the lambing season, but many farmers were still recovering from the effects of a snowstorm in July. Farmers faced losing newborn lambs, ewes and older lambs weakened by the earlier storm, and sheep freshly shorn for lambing. They were advised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to focus on those they could save. Other regions pitched in with supplies of hay and the government covered the road-user charges incurred in collecting and distributing the feed. It was later reported that more than one million sheep had died, with the cost to farmers an estimated $40 million ($61 million in 2011 terms).
Further snowstorms hit the region in 1996, 2002 and 2006. South Canterbury was the area worst affected by the 2006 storm (also often referred to as the ‘Big Snow’), which left many residents without power for weeks.
31st August, 1974
Death of Norman Kirk
Leader of the Labour Party since 1965 and Prime Minister from late 1972, ‘Big Norm’ died suddenly at the age of 51. He was the fifth New Zealand prime minister to die in office.
Kirk had faced a number of health issues during 1974 but maintained a punishing work schedule. Following a Cabinet meeting on 19 August he went home to his ministerial house in Seatoun with flu. On the 28th a heart specialist persuaded him to check into Our Lady’s Home of Compassion hospital in Island Bay. He died three days later of ‘congestive cardiac failure’ and ‘thromboembolic pulmonary heart disease’.
The public display of grief that followed Kirk’s death was reminiscent of that aroused by the death of Labour’s first Prime Minister, M.J. Savage, in 1940. Politician and historian Michael Bassett has described Kirk as ‘Labour’s last passionate believer in big government, someone whose commanding presence and extravagant rhetoric introduced a new idealism to political debate in New Zealand’.
Kirk’s popularity with the New Zealand public was perhaps best demonstrated by the song ‘Big Norm’. Performed by Wellington band Ebony, it peaked at No. 4 on the national charts in January 1974 and won the band a New Zealand music award for ‘group of the year’. The last telegram Kirk sent before his death was to Ebony congratulating them on their win.
and earlier this month...
- Maori becomes official language
- Cook Islands achieve self-government
- Cartwright Report condemns cervical cancer treatment
- Lovelock wins 1500-m gold at Berlin
- First train runs length of main trunk line
- Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bair
- Picton ferry Aramoana enters service
- Baby-farmer Minnie Dean hanged
- Death of David Lange
1st August 1987
Maori becomes official language
The Maori Language Act came into force, making te reo Maori an official language of New Zealand. It could now be used in some legal proceedings. The Act also established Te Komihana Mo Te Reo Maori – the Maori Language Commission (in 1991 this was renamed Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Maori).
At the beginning of the 19th century the Maori language (te reo Maori) was the predominant language spoken in Aotearoa/New Zealand. As more English speakers arrived in New Zealand, speaking Maori was increasingly confined to Maori communities. By the mid-20th century there were concerns that the language was dying out. Major initiatives launched from the 1980s have brought about a revival of te reo. In the early 21st century, more than 130,000 people of M?ori ethnicity could speak and understand te reo.
In 1985 the Waitangi Tribunal heard the Te Reo Maori claim. This asserted that te reo was a taonga (treasure) that the Crown (government) was obliged to protect under the Treaty of Waitangi. The Waitangi Tribunal found in favour of the claimants and recommended a number of legislative and policy remedies. One of these was the Maori Language Act, which made M?ori an official language of New Zealand alongside English. (In 2006, New Zealand Sign Language became the country's third official language.)
The Act established the Maori Language Commission to promote the use of Maori as a living language and as an ordinary means of communication.
4th August 1965
Cook Islands achieve self-government
First included within the boundaries of New Zealand in 1901, the islands were governed by a Resident Commissioner until 1946. Despite gaining self-government, Cook Islanders remained New Zealand citizens.
New Zealand’s formal ties with the Cook Islands began as a result of a petition it had induced some local chiefs to present. In 1901 the Federal Parliament of the Cooks was abolished. The islands were now governed by a Resident Commissioner sent to Rarotonga by the New Zealand government. Resident agents were appointed in most of the outer islands.
As decolonisation gathered pace around the world after the Second World War, steps were taken towards establishing responsible internal self-government in the Cooks. A Legislative Council constituted in 1946 met annually in Rarotonga, initially as a largely advisory group. In 1957 a representative Legislative Assembly of the Cook Islands with increased legislative powers was created.
In 1962 the Assembly declared its intention to achieve internal self-government, with Cook Islanders retaining their New Zealand citizenship. At its 1963 session the Assembly chose a Leader of Government and four other members to form a new Executive Committee or ‘shadow cabinet’. Under an agreed timetable for constitutional development, full internal self-government would be granted in 1965.
Under the terms of New Zealand’s Cook Islands Constitution Act 1964, an elected Legislative Assembly would make laws for the Cooks. Executive government was to be controlled by a cabinet chosen from members of this Assembly and headed by a Premier. New Zealand kept control of the Cook Islands’ external affairs and would continue to make three-yearly grants towards its budget. A New Zealand official would both represent the Queen as Head of State and act as this country’s representative in the Cooks.
By the late 1980s the majority of ‘Cook Islanders’ lived in the North Island of New Zealand. In 2006 the population of the Cook Islands was less than 20,000, while 58,000 people of ‘Cook Islands M?ori’ descent lived in New Zealand.
5th August 1988
Cartwright Report condemns cervical cancer treatment
The report was triggered by the publication of an article by Sandra Coney and Phillida Bunkle, ‘An Unfortunate Experiment’, in Metro in June 1987. This revealed that dozens of cervical cancer patients at National Women’s Hospital, Auckland were receiving inadequate treatment.
Dr Herbert Green of the hospital’s cervical cancer clinic had become convinced that abnormal cells in the cervix, ‘carcinoma in situ’, did not progress to invasive cancer. He was determined to prove this hypothesis.
The study began in 1966 and involved monitoring women without treating them. Many of the women developed cervical cancer, and some died. They were not told that they were taking part in an experiment, or that other hospitals were giving prompt treatment to women with similar symptoms.
Two of Dr Green’s colleagues, Drs William McIndoe and Malcolm McLean, became worried about the experiment and tried for many years to convince the medical establishment of its dangers. In 1984 they published a paper that they hoped would provide incontrovertible evidence. It took the Metro article, however, to bring the issue into the open.
The 18-page article caused public outrage and a Committee of Inquiry was established, headed by Judge Silvia Cartwright. The resulting ‘Cartwright Report’ condemned the experiment and proposed radical new measures to ensure patients’ rights. The Report’s recommendations led to the establishment of the National Cervical Screening Programme, the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner, the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, and nationwide patient advocacy services.
A number of women sued for damages and received settlement packages. Several doctors faced disciplinary charges, though charges against Dr Green did not proceed as he was deemed mentally and physically unfit.
Silvia Cartwright was made Dame Commander in 1989 for her services to women and later became New Zealand's Governor-General.
6th August 1936
Lovelock wins 1500-m gold at Berlin
Jack Lovelock won New Zealand’s first Olympic athletics gold medal before Adolf Hitler and a crowd of 110,000 at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He led the 1500-m field home in a world record time of 3 minutes 47.8 seconds.
In the lead-up to the 1936 Games Lovelock seriously considered competing in the 5000 m instead of the 1500 m. He appeared to have made up his mind by 1 July, when he wrote to Harry Amos, secretary of the New Zealand Olympic Association, to tell him that he had decided to concentrate on the 1500 m. But in the days before the event newspapers reported that Lovelock was still wrestling with the decision. Arthur Porritt, the team manager in Berlin, recalled that Lovelock even turned up for the 5000-m heats. After seeking advice from his coach, Bill Thomas, who declined to take responsibility, Lovelock turned to Porritt – who told him to get dressed.
The field for the 1500-m final included many of the world’s best middle-distance runners against whom Lovelock had competed over the years, including Eric Ny (Sweden), Jerry Cornes (UK), Glen Cunningham (USA), Gene Venzke (USA) and Luigi Beccali (Italy), who had won the 1500 m at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, when Lovelock finished seventh.
Lovelock ran strategically, positioning himself inside Cunningham for much of the race. As they came to the final lap Ny was leading. Lovelock surged up to his shoulder and Cunningham followed. Then, with 300 m to go, Lovelock sprinted. His dramatic finish famously caused the BBC commentator, 1924 sprint gold-medallist Harold Abrahams, to forget his broadcasting etiquette: ‘My God, he’s done it! Jack! Come on! ... He wins! He’s won! Hooray!’ Lovelock’s time of 3:47.8 was a new world record for the 1500 m and made the 4-minute mile seem a real possibility (another 109 m at the same pace would have resulted in a 4:04 mile).
The head of Germany’s Olympic Committee, Theodor Lewald, presented Lovelock with his gold medal. He was also given a year-old seedling of a Black Forest oak tree, a symbol of Germany presented to gold medal winners. Lovelock gave this to teammate Ces Matthews, who was returning to New Zealand. By the time it arrived it was in poor condition, but the curator of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, James McPherson, nursed it back to health. In 1941 it was planted at Timaru Boys’ High School, where it is now a large tree known as ‘Lovelock's oak’.
7th August 1908
First train runs length of main trunk line
The first train to travel the length of the North Island main trunk line, the ‘Parliament Special’ left Wellington on the evening of 7 August. On board were Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward and other members of Parliament, who were heading to Auckland to greet the American navy’s ‘Great White Fleet’.
The train travelled over a temporary, unballasted track in the central section of the still-unfinished main trunk line. It was hauled in turn by locomotives from the Wellington & Manawatu Railway Company, New Zealand Railways, the Public Works Department and New Zealand Railways again. It completed the trip in 20½ hours.
The main trunk was not formally opened until 6 November, when Ward drove home a final polished silver spike at Manganuioteao, near Erua. Regular services began soon after, and an express train introduced in February 1909 made the trip in 18 hours.
8th August 1915
Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bair
Literally the high point of the New Zealand effort at Gallipoli, the attack on Chunuk Bair highlighted the leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone. But a massive Turkish counter-attack on 10 August recaptured the position from British troops who had relieved the New Zealanders.
The attack, which began on 6 August, was to be carried out by two columns of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade. They were to meet at Rhododendron Spur and then move up to the summit of Chunuk Bair. It was an ambitious plan and dependent on speed.
The operation started well – men of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and the Maori Contingent successfully cleared the way for the assault columns. But delays meant that the attack on the summit was ordered before all the infantrymen had reached the Spur.
The Auckland Battalion tried first and failed. The commander of the Wellington Battalion, Malone, refused to sacrifice his men in a daylight attack and insisted on waiting until night. Malone was a tough but respected commander from Taranaki who regularly put himself on the line for the welfare of his men. He allegedly told his superior, Brigadier-General Johnston: ‘We are not taking orders from you people … My men are not going to commit suicide.’
The Wellington Battalion occupied the summit before dawn on 8 August. With the sunrise came a barrage of fire from Turks holding higher ground to the north. A desperate struggle to hold Chunuk Bair ensued. It was not until after dark that reinforcements, the Otago Battalion and the Wellington Mounted Rifles, arrived. By then only 70 Wellington Battalion men remained out of 760. Malone had been killed by an Allied shell at about 5 p.m. The New Zealanders were relieved on the night of 9/10 August by British battalions, but these quickly succumbed to a counter-attack led by Mustafa Kemal, who was to become the founding President of Turkey.
A New Zealand memorial stands on the summit of Chunuk Bair. It has a narrow slit through which the rising sun shines on 8 August.
10th August 1840 British assert sovereignty as French head for Akaroa
HMS Britomart arrived at Akaroa, on Banks Peninsula, a week before a shipload of French colonists landed. The ship’s captain raised the Union Jack to confirm British sovereignty over the area.
In 1838 the commander of the French whaling ship Cachalot made a dubious land purchase from Maori on Banks Peninsula. The Nanto-Bordelaise Company was formed in France with a view to establishing a settlement at Akaroa. In 1839 King Louis-Philippe agreed to provide assistance. Captain Charles François Lavaud, the French representative for the settlement, sailed for New Zealand in April 1840. A month later, the Comte de Paris set off for Akaroa carrying 53 emigrants.
In the period between the land purchase and the departure of the French colonists for Akaroa, the situation in New Zealand had changed. Britain had finally bowed to pressure to colonise New Zealand. The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (including two signatures gathered at Akaroa at the end of May 1840) and Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson’s declaration of sovereignty over the whole country on 21 May confirmed that New Zealand was a British colony.
When Lavaud arrived in the Bay of Islands in July 1840 he was unaware of these changes. While Hobson was friendly enough, he sent HMS Britomart, under the command of Owen Stanley, to observe the French in Akaroa. The warship left the Bay of Islands on 23 July and reached Akaroa on 10 August. When Lavaud arrived five days later he accepted that France could not create a colony without causing hostility. When the Comte de Paris arrived on 17 August, the Union Jack was flying over Akaroa.
11th August 1962
Picton ferry Aramoana enters service
The country's first roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) ferry, New Zealand Railways’ Aramoana entered service between Wellington and Picton on 11 August 1962. Crossing Cook Strait now involved cars and rail freight wagons being driven on and off at either end of the voyage.
The Aramoana’s influence was immediate. In its last year of service, the Union Steam Ship Company’s former Wellington–Picton ferry Tamahine had carried 60,000 passengers, 11,000 cars and 14,000 tonnes of cargo. In its first year, the Aramoana carried 207,000 passengers, 46,000 cars and 181,000 tonnes of cargo.
Since the 1960s, five other Cook Strait ferries have carried the ‘Ara’ prefix: Aranui, Arahanga, Aratika, Arahura and Aratere. These ships – and more recent competitors – have formed a ‘floating bridge’, linking the North and South islands’ road and rail networks in a truly national transport system.
12th August 1895
Baby-farmer Minnie Dean hanged
In 1895 Minnie Dean became the first (and only) woman to be hanged by law in New Zealand. Known as the ‘Winton baby farmer’, she had been convicted of the murder of baby Dorothy Edith Carter following a sensational trial in Invercargill.
Dean was hanged at 8 a.m. at Invercargill Gaol. Newspapers reported that ‘She walked firmly to the scaffold, and said in answer to the Sheriff − “I have nothing to say except that I am innocent.” There was no hitch in the arrangements, and the prisoner’s death was instantaneous.’
13th August 2005
Death of David Lange
David Lange was New Zealand’s youngest prime minister during the 20th century. Renowned for his sharp wit and oratory, he is best remembered as leader of the fourth Labour government from 1984 to 1989. This was a turbulent era, characterised by New Zealand’s strong anti-nuclear position, the implementation of ‘Rogernomics’ and other radical changes.
Lange suffered poor health for many years, including diabetes and heart problems. In 2002 he was diagnosed with a rare and incurable blood plasma disorder. By July 2005 he was receiving dialysis treatment for kidney failure. He had his lower right leg amputated as a result of complications from diabetes before dying of heart failure on 13 August 2005. He was 63.