A tribute to Gil Cawood

In 1960 the Waikato Rowing Club was formed, and Gil Cawood was one of the club’s 22 original members serving as its initial Vice Club Captain and though the 60’s Gil was the mainstay of the club’s premier rowing crews. He won his first redcoat (National title) in 1964 when he was in the club’s National-Championship-winning Eight.

Gil was first selected for New Zealand in 1966, competing against Australia, then in 1967 in Canada, 1968 at the Mexico Olympics and then back in Canada in 1970.

This was when he was in his prime, representing the Waikato Rowing Club and New Zealand, but even back then, he had a special interest in young people in sport.

His dedication and commitment to everything he did was an inspiration. His caring compassionate attitude was something he shared with us all.

Gil coached Fairfield College crews in the 60’s & 70’s and has been involved with Hamilton Boys’ High School since, more recently in a mentoring role.

He coached our Senior Eight to win the Maadi Cup in 1987 and has assisted with numerous other National title successes over the years.

It has been through these efforts that Gil has influenced the lives of many, who can reflect on the personal impact he has had on their lives.

Gil was always a proud servant of the Waikato Rowing Club, giving countless years of coaching, serving its committee, and running its supporters club, always leading by example.

Gil was a true gentleman who never boasted of his many significant achievements. He was always completely humble, in fact at times he could be quite self-depreciating (an example of which was him wearing his international souvenirs inside out at training so as not to appear superior to his teammates).

He loved his family and felt immense pride in everything they did.

Gil died on the 28th of August, 2022, at Waikato Hospital. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered, and our world will be a lesser place without him.