Peter Alexander Cockburn
From the stories folder that accompanies The Quilt to displays
The Quilt is a picture of Peter’s life starting with the bright sun flowers on the left, the bright gay flowers which were always part of his life. His love of animals is expressed by the picture of his dog in the left corner, and of course butterflies and peacock feathers. The camera was always with him, especially on his many travelling adventures around the world. His own photo is framed with the Cockburn tartan giving his link to the Scottish family. The final part shows the last two years with his love of fine wine, food, cigarettes and out-door dining with the backdrop of Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
The Quilt, has been made by Tane, Peter’s partner, and members of Peter’s family as well as some very close friends from New Zealand and England. Peter died of AIDS related conditions on 17 November 1993, after being nursed by his family at home.
As a family we met many of Peter’s gay friends and still keep in touch with many of them. He was a bright intelligent young man, greatly loved and sadly missed. He was aged 29 when he left us for his next great adventure.
Also from the stories folder that accompanies The Quilt to displays
The following was compiled over a few days with contributions by those who loved him, as read at his funeral by Jude:
“As we drove here today Peter’s words came to me clearly
– ‘ooh, it’s a bit of a do’”
Peter was a connoisseur of life and enjoyed living it to the full. He enjoyed people, partying and was forever telling us to ‘lighten up’. He loved music and to him it wasn’t loud enough unless it pounded throughout the house.
As soon as he could afford to he took off for England and beyond. Peter made an intrepid traveller – the more exotic the country the better. He would return with stories – few of which can be repeated here – of hair raising adventures from some of the wildest places that he had checked out.
After a four year stint abroad Peter returned to New Zealand, but not to take on a slower pace of life. He enjoyed the buzz of Auckland, few restaurants were left untried, few night clubs left unexplored. Peter kept his artistic flair quiet, but no room was ever the same once his hand had been at work transforming it into a reflection of his personality.
He always had lots of great ideas. Most recently he developed a talent for landscape gardening. We were told in no uncertain terms that there was such a thing as garden planning!! He dreamt of getting into the Palmer’s Garden Show so he and Tane transformed the garden into a riot of colour that would have done the TV show proud. They would while away the hours pottering in the green house to their heart’s content, scheming how to replace yet another of mum’s beloved daisy bushes! then relax in the hammock, Black Russian in hand, enjoying their handiwork.
Peter had a special way with people and he would make friends wherever he went. He was honest to boot and didn’t mind telling you he didn’t like what you were wearing.!! or that your taste was tragic! He of course had impeccable taste whether he was dressing up or down.
He loved to have us all on and had a great sense of humour. His easy going nature, together with his bravery and spirit were unflinching which made him the ideal patient. The devoted and loving care that Peter received from us all enabled him to spend his last days at home as was his wish. The courage Peter showed throughout his life inspired us. he was and will remain a true and everlasting friend who will be greatly missed.
Peter, we wish you peace for your journey. Our love goes with you always.
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