Rob Talbot RIP

Last week saw the funeral of Rob Talbot. He was aged 89 but still very active until close to the end.

Rob was a South Canterbury MP for 21 years until 1987, when he was succeeded by Jenny Shipley. He is one of the relatively few surviving members of the Muldoon Cabinet.

He was a great friend of America, and served as Chairman of the NZ American Association. Ambassador Huebner was one of many who paid tribute to Rob. There is an annual Rob Talbot prize for an individual who advances friendship and mutual understanding between New Zealanders and Americans.

A 2008 story on Stuff reported:

As a senior official in Robert Muldoon’s government in the 1980s, Rob Talbot was the man who signed off on New Zealand’s first cellular network.

Fast-forward 25 years and Mr Talbot, now a sprightly 84-year-old, was proud to become one of the first people in the world to own the new generation iPhone.

Eyeing up fellow devotees as he queued for four hours outside a Wellington Vodafone store, Mr Talbot conceded he may have been the oldest person in line. But he said he was “definitely the youngest at heart”.

A former National MP who served as postmaster-general, Mr Talbot said he still got a kick out of new technology and described his latest acquisition as “the greatest piece of technology yet”. …

He travelled to Sweden in 1983 to enter contract negotiations with Ericsson, which was where he encountered the first mobile phone, affectionately known as “the brick”.

I recall the bricks! They used to come with a bag and shoulder strap to carry them around.

I didn’t make the funeral, but hear it was well attended. Rob has many friends and family who will miss him.

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