I have known Shaun since we were about 10 years old, when we used to meet with a few others in the mornings and cycle to Te Awamutu Intermediate school as a group. I remember being in the Intermediate school orchestra with Shaun and Dave Owen, but it wasn't until all three of us started learning drums together at 12 years old (at the Te Awamutu Municipal Band rooms) that our musical journey really began.
Three new drummers turned out to not be practical in a brass band that already had a drummer and didn't have sufficient drums for all of us, so Shaun played bass drum for a while, and I learnt to play the cornet. This led to our first band practice, as I recall at Dave's house in Lyon Street, Kihikihi, with Shaun on the piano (using skills gained during his childhood), Dave on drums, and me playing the cornet. It was a tragic sound, I'm sure, but it spurred us on, lead from the front by Shaun, to electric instruments and greater heights.
Within a short time, Shaun was playing the bass guitar and singing in a trio with Dave and I that had too many names to remember. One of my clearest memories of this time, being the first resident rock band at TA College, was of a lunchtime concert on the back of a flat deck truck facing out towards the sports field. Shaun was singing David Bowie's 'Cat People', and I distinctly recall how he always howled the line, "putting out fire with gasoline.." like he really meant it. In a different way that David Bowie intended, I think that Shaun owned this line. For me it sums up his attitude to life, his commitment to friends and his passion as a social and business leader.
There was no holding back with Shaun. He was honest with himself, and totally honest with others. Because of this, he was a leader and always at the front of the action. If something needed to happen, it just did with Shaun around. Being his friend meant that there was never a dull moment - Shaun never allowed them. His energy and commitment to everything made my life more exciting and interesting.
Being his friend also meant that he was always there to call on for help or any other reason. For me, as I know it is for so many others, Shaun was a lifelong friend, a person who would drop everything to help out. Shaun's friendship was so much a part of my own formative teenage experiences and the basis of the rest of my life, that I will always feel his loss.
Rest in peace, Shaun