RIP Michael Tull

Was very saddened to read that died last week. Michael was one of the funniest and nicest people around.

I met Michael at Otago University, as we were both involved in student politics. Michael was successful, while I was not. He was a larger than life presence even back then.

Michael was on the exec for three years, edited Critic, the orientation mag and the capping mag, plus had the most popular show on Radio One. Last year OUSA made him a life member.

Michael had a sense of humour that was unparalleled. Not only did he edit the official capping mag, but frustrated with what jokes he couldn’t publish in there, he also edited the anonymous unofficial capping mag that was a sensational hit for several years.

This was in the late 1980s and even the official capping mag of that period would today find you before half a dozen disciplinary bodies for its off colour jokes. But the unofficial capping mag was exponentially worse. The jokes in there were so appalling (yet hilarious) that the Gore District Council banned it three years in a row. This was especially ironic as the Gore District Council were unaware that it was actually printed in Gore.

Michael was also a superb and entertaining debater.

I didn’t see much of Michael in the early 1990s. Off memory he was a professional comedy writer for some TV shows.

But in the late 1990s I was delighted when he popped up in Wellington as a press gallery reporter for IRN and even happier when he got hired by Jenny Shipley to work for National in opposition with me. Michael quickly became Chief Press Secretary and he was a popular figure with MPs, journalists and staff.

Working with Michael was great fun. I can’t believe the shit we got away with. I recall after a National MP gave birth, Michael edited the photo of her with her baby to make the baby look like me, and sent it to most of the staff and caucus.

There were regular “flame wars” between around eight or ten of the staff who were good friends, and the level of insults between us could reach heights or depths that would have sent anyone from the HR department into cardiac arrest.

After Parliament Michael went on to be a comms manager for Capital Coast Health, NZ Post, Ministry of Justice and more until his health declined in recent years. Michael was also a devoted father of four kids.

Michael has many many friends who will miss him, as well of course as his family. Go well Michael.

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