Updated: Nov 1, 2022
We are deeply saddened by the passing away of my Dad, best friend & mentor. We would like to share with you my eulogy as we know many of Peter's clients were not able to join us on Friday 14th & Sunday 30th of October.
"Good afternoon, I am going to speak loudly so Dad can hear, as he does not have his hearing aids in.
Hi, I am Christopher, or as Dad used to introduce me as, the number 2 son.
I am blown away at the amount of love and respect shown to Pete. I have had the privilege of 2 loving fathers, Des Sutcliffe, my father-in-law, who we lost a year ago and now my Dad: two very important mentors in my life. Des & Dad got on very well. I love my Dad's very much.
Dad was involved in our younger school years serving on school PTA’s, Hawke Sea Scouts, soccer club, ski club & taking us on camping holidays, fishing trips, bush walks & other adventures. Dad loved museums, so much so on our first trip back to the UK, (1975), we hit the British Museums hard, there was never a dull moment. His love for museums was lifelong, with him visiting some of the world's best in his many travels.
Dad was a true polymath, an avid reader, watcher of BBC CNN & NZ local channels; Pete watched them all. His morning ritual was the NZ Herald over brekkie, 5 days a week, that’s a lot of news.
He loved & was very proud of my family, whatever we were up to, he took an active interest in our lives.
When I was 21, I owned my first business, Sheer Brillance, with super encouragement from Dad, who would often give up his time to lend me a hand without hesitation, he would refuse payment saying, “it’s because I love you”.
I also had the privilege of traveling & representing NZ with Dad as part of the NZ Dragon Boat Team that competed in Penang and Macau, (1996), with Sandy Piggott in tow, we had a blast together. Dad also designed & made a team pendent which was half Taniwha & half Oriental dragon, as a pin to swap with other teams, needless to say it was a big hit.
When I was teaching Photography at Avondale College ACE, Dad became the student and attended my black & white darkroom class with me, which was a real joy.
For many of us, our connection to Peter remains strong by wearing the jewellery he made for us. To Dad handmade jewellery was his first love. Being a Goldsmith Jeweller was never a job but a passion and having worked for Dad for 11 years at the Goldsmith School, I experienced & saw this passion daily.
A quick Resume of Pete’s life as a Goldsmith Jeweller.
“Good Jewellers are born not made”
Age 13 Pete won an art scholarship to Gravesend Art school, where in the curriculum included jewellery and silversmithing, from that class he was hooked.
Age 16, 1953, he was awarded a 6-year Apprenticeship with Hathaway Muddiman as a Diamond Mounter, during this time he also study at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London and took his City and Guilds receiving a first-class pass.
Dad received a 60-pound bursary a year from Goldsmith Hall which just paid for his train to London daily. He worked in the local Co-op, to be able to give is Mother his wages. At the Co-op Menswear department, he started designing suits for the local Teddy Boys. His designs skills, use of colour & cloth, they raced out the door as fast as he could put them together.
In 1961 he flew out to New Zealand via Australia to visit his beloved brother, Michael. He landed at Whenuapai Airport to start his NZ adventure of which Pete made friends easily, many remaining lifelong friends.
In 1964, encouraged by Mr. Les Argyle, the Peter Minturn empire began; as he went out on his own. (Dear Les Argyle, we are forever indebted to you). Dad sought help from Eric Baldwin, a fellow Englishman, who’s first words to dad where “You’re the new pommie jeweller.”
In the JMF, Dad continuously wrote articles for the Crucible & was an active committee member for many years.
Dads first Apprentice was Peter Nicholls, 1964, with his last Apprentice being Amanda Powell in 2000.
Approximately 22 Apprentices trained under Peter Minturn, before he commenced the Goldsmith School.
1971 the NZID award for his production jewellery that spearheaded the export of New Zealand made jewellery, from this country.
1977 he was sponsored by the Gold and Diamond producers of South Africa, to undertake a study tour.
Across his career he contributed to the work of setting and marking the Trade Certificate Examinations for trade apprentices, as well as being a regular Judge for the Skillex Jewellery Competitions.
For 5 years Pete had a regular monthly spot on National Radio with Wayne Moat, where Pete discussed the world of Gems and Jewellery.
In 1999 he went on a month’s trip to India, with his 2 best friends David Dadswell & Martin Hall, as gave talk for months afterward sharing the experiences he had during that visit.
Peter has passionately given back to the New Zealand trade. In recognition of this work, the JMF Committee proffered an application to have his life's work recognised. Peter was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2009, Queen Elizabeth II New Year Honours.
Dad not only made fine jewellery, but also made silver jewellery en-mass, various medals, a World FIFA medal, crowns, sports trophies, corn on the cob forks! photo frames, corporate/business house awards & gifts (Air NZ, Avon, Wella to name a few), a fabulous sculpture of Norman Kirk, amongst many other things.
in 1974 Dad made Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Ann brooches. The Māori Queen bestowed Dad with her blessings in his loving translations of the Māori arts & carvings. (I remember the trip to Ngaruawahia well, travelling with Grandma Minturn, it was a very proud day for Dad).
His most notable & important clients where pieces made for families & friends who become multi-generational friends/clients. Each piece personally made with the same skill, passion and love.
I would also like to thank those who have travelled far and wide to be here today, in particular Aunty Elaine, Susan & Kerrie, & Shelley. "