OBITUARY: Colin Stanley McGregor, QSM (OC 1954)
Colin Stanley McGregor, passed away at his home in Glenbrae, Rotorua on 28 February 2023, surrounded by his immediate family.
Colin was born in 1936 in Wanganui to parents of Scottish descent, Stanley Earl McGregor and Mary Ellen McGregor. The family moved to Christchurch where Colin attended St Andrew’s College with his brother Bruce (OC 1951), during which he became a keen piper. Colin attended the University of Canterbury, becoming a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Company Secretary. In 1960, Colin married his life-long love Shirley Stevenson at the St Andrew’s College Memorial Chapel accompanied by tunes played on the pipes by Gordon Ogilvie and William Boyle.
As an avid traveller, Colin spent most of his life working overseas initially moving to Colombo, Ceylon where he worked for a large global tea company. Colin considered that Ceylon would be more interesting than London for his OE – and there began Shirley and his wanderlust – and the first of 39 moves across 13 countries. It was in Sri Lanka that Kirstine, was born and Richard arrived a few years later, after a move back to Christchurch. His next overseas sojourn was in New York, where he worked in the finance department within the United Nations. After a few years back in New Zealand, he then re-joined the United Nations working in Geneva, Switzerland for over a decade.
Colin’s career then deviated significantly, when he was moved into peace-keeping where he thrived in such a dynamic environment. Colin and Shirley spent a total of seven years in Israel whilst Colin worked as the CFO and latterly the Chiel Administrative Officer (CAO) in Naquora, Southern Lebanon with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), managing a workforce of 6,500 peacekeeping soldiers and over two thousand civilian workers.
The family enjoyed some great trips around the middle east, travelling in a VW camper van to Jordan, Syria and throughout Israel. Colin was then moved back to New York taking up the role of Deputy Director of all global peace-keeping operations.
Colin helped with the scoping, establishment and ‘gnarly’ tasks that nobody knew how to tackle across a plethora of peace-keeping operations including Iran-Iraq, Kosovo, Somalia, East Timor, Western Sahara, Cambodia and Afghanistan (as the UN facilitated the Russian withdrawal).
Colin retired from his last UN role as CAO with the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), based in Bangkok, Thailand. He was eventually awarded the Queens Service Medal for services to peace-keeping in 2002, and spent his retirement in a number of places around New Zealand including Auckland, Bay of Islands, Tauranga, the Kaimai Hills and finally, Rotorua.
Colin continued his passion for the great highland bagpipes, taking them wherever he was assigned. He was a leading member of the Geneva Pipes & Drums, and often played with his son Richard for events arranged by the Bangkok St Andrew’s Society. One of his proudest achievements was as Pipe Sergeant of the New Zealand Scottish Regiment (RNZAC) pipe band during his military service when it moved from a newly established grade C band to winning the A grade – in only two years!
In 2020 Colin was also granted his personal Coat of Arms by the Court of the Lord Lyons of Scotland.
Colin is survived by his daughter Kirstine Jolly, and his son Richard McGregor (OC 1984). Colin was a talented, quietly spoken gentlemen of immense integrity who will be greatly missed.