There were many aspects to Pinetree that would probably have gone unnoticed outside of New Zealand, and not the least of those was his involvement with the IHC Foundation (Intellectually Handicapped Children)
After he retired from rugby in 1974 he was visited by IHC members - by the time they left, Colin had agreed to head up a newly formed King Country sub-branch. He said he would give them two years. In that time, he joined the National Fundraising Committee, 43 years later, he was still heavily involved.
From the IHC Website
Colin put his money where his mouth was. Rugby in those days wasn’t professional and there were rules around fees. So Colin and the IHC branch set up a special account into which he donated the proceeds from his many speaking engagements. In 1988 this money went towards buying a farm in Te Kuiti for people with intellectual disabilities. The idea was to provide employment and teach farming skills.
He remained concerned at the lack of employment opportunities for young people with disabilities and recalled the pride when someone got a job. “I can remember the thrill of some of them getting their first pay. That was theirs; they were going to bank it.”
Colin was knighted in 2001, but never used the ***le ‘Sir’ in his involvement with IHC. That would have set him apart. He was more comfortable kicking a ball around with a young disabled rugby player or standing for long hours at Mystery Creek Fieldays, whipping up support for IHC among his fellow farmers.
Colin was a natural fundraiser and backed a number of ingenious farm-based fundraising schemes. He bought a horse each year at the yearling sales, and he and IHC supporters sold raffle tickets and raised between $110,000 and $120,000 a horse. Colin also supported farmers Norm Cashmore and Mick Murphy who started the IHC Calf Scheme in 1983. They encouraged dairy farmers to raise a calf and donate the proceeds to IHC in exchange for a pair of gumboots.
The IHC Calf & Rural Scheme is still going 33 years later and it raises more than $1 million annually for people with disabilities.
When Colin was made a distinguished companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit from Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright in 2001 he told us “she said this is not just for your rugby, this is for your work with IHC also. I was quite proud of it to be honest”
The mighty Pinetree has fallen, and he will be truly missed.