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Ralph King passes away

Show Profile  rob.g Posted: 29 September 2014, 8:49 AM  
Ralph King passed away this weekend at the age of 91.

Ralph was truly one of the founding fathers of orienteering in New Zealand. He mapped almost all of Woodhill Forest in the 70's and 80's (voluntarily) and advanced our sport many years. He managed to get huge publicity for orienteering with full page articles in the now defunct Auckland Star and the Herald. He also set and organised numerous major events and was simply the number 1 guy in orienteering in the early years.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 29 September 2014, 11:40 AM  
Any funeral details Rob?

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 29 September 2014, 1:30 PM  
Goodbye Ralph. A founding father of our sport.

Show Profile  rob.g Posted: 29 September 2014, 2:21 PM  
Details in tomorrow's paper, but I believe there will be no funeral.

Show Profile  davemelrose Posted: 29 September 2014, 5:15 PM  
Hi All. My brothers need to hold a private service for Dad this week, but we want to bring him out to the final OY on 19th October. This is the North West club champs also. I know he would have preferred to run an M90 course than have me scatter his ashes out there at Woodhill, but I know he wants another day out there with everyone. We pretty much talked about nothing else over the last 10 years. Would be awesome if those who knew Ralph had a cup of tea with us after their run that day. If they are sizzling sausages I'll buy them! That's as much fanfare as he would want. I'll wear a black armband that day.

Show Profile  Rolf Posted: 29 September 2014, 9:47 PM  
Condolences Dave to you and family. Ralph was just such a huge part of Auckland Orienteering for so long. I remember many of the 'Ralph King Masterpiece' Maps of Woodhill. Few then or since have given as much time to our sport. RIP

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 29 September 2014, 10:11 PM  
Its great to know Ralph will always be a part of Woodhill. RIP

Show Profile  Jenni Posted: 30 September 2014, 7:58 AM  
My first event orienteering outside of the South Island was a trip to Auckland and Woodhill, about 1985 I think. In the scenes stored in my memory, I can vividly see Ralph helping at the event, and then at many others over many trips to Auckland.
I can remember Tania telling me less than 10 years ago that Ralph was still training and even doing intervals?! An inspiration to all.
Thanks for all you did for our sport, Ralph - it will make orienteering at Woodhill even more pleasurable to know you're still there.

Show Profile  darren Posted: 30 September 2014, 8:10 AM  
Sorry for your loss Dave and family. One of my early memories of orienteering was Ralphs friendly smile. He always had time to chat to everyone. I recall him at the end of each OY event, pencil and paper in hand, carefully noting down the exact names and times of the top few in each grade to pass on to the NZ Herald. It was pretty cool as a young orienteer to see your name written in the newspaper on the Monday morning following the event. RIP Ralph.

Show Profile  inghamma Posted: 30 September 2014, 9:27 AM  
Condolences to you and your family Dave. it was always a pleasure to interact with Ralph who was so supportive of orienteering and orienteers in every possible way.

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 30 September 2014, 9:53 AM  
When I first came to live in Auckland, I quickly met up with a fellow NorthWest club member who I regarded as the legend of our sport. To me, he was the master mapper and I was the apprentice. He immediately gave me some of his last remaining copies of his maps - I regard them as precious gems which I will always treasure dearly. I used parts of them as base maps for the World Cup 1994.

I always found it a pleasure to talk maps and mapping with him and he always had time to talk with me and my wife. I regarded him as a dear friend.

Here is a link to some of his maps:

You can see the master craftsman at work and the prodigious efforts he made for our sport - the backbone of our early years.

Some of his early articles for the NZ Herald can be viewed here:

Show Profile  MikeB Posted: 30 September 2014, 11:09 AM  
Sorry to hear of your loss Melrose family. I always remember when my kids were younger and first started competing Ralph always took the time out to talk to them at events and Renee still has memories of that. She still has a Ralph King trophy here at home when she won a rogaine named after him, in her grade, at least 10 years ago.

Maybe an annual event in his name wouldn't be a bad idea.

I too remember him helping me when I first started mapping, he was a huge help in those early days. Ralph didn't have the technology we have today and so much was done by eye from fairly crude base maps and he did it for nothing because he loved the sport.

He'll always be in out thoughts when were in Woodhill.

Show Profile  Junglejill Posted: 30 September 2014, 12:10 PM  
What a legend, and what a legacy. So many of us touched by Ralph's friendly manner, his maps, courses, and encouragement. I remember meeting up with him one day at One Tree Hill, we were both there for a run. I remember being impressed he was still out there training (can't remember what age group he would have been then, but it was old in my books!!).

I did go to visit him a couple of times at Ranfurly when we were still in Auckland and always took some O magazines, he loved keeping up with what was going on.

MikeB suggests an annual event - a great idea. Sorry for your loss Dave and family. RIP Ralph you're one great orienteer.

Show Profile  pete s Posted: 2 October 2014, 9:14 PM  
Condolences to you and your family Dave. I've got very strong memories of Ralph out there in the forest, always positive and enjoying himself right up until when he stopped running in recent years. What a great inspiration. I've also got a Ralph king score trophy, so the idea of resurrecting a race in his name is a great one. Thoughts are with you at this time.

Show Profile  JD Junior Posted: 12 October 2014, 2:52 PM  
Hi Dave, Bronnie and family. My condolences to you all. From Mum too. As others have said, what a legend! I remember how hard he worked to make so many maps and events happen while I was a kid. A real fixture and stalwart for so long. Dad would have said the same. All the best, Jan.

Show Profile  The Map Guy Posted: 15 October 2014, 7:33 PM  
My condolences Dave to you and your family. Ralph played a vital part in the development of NZ Orienteering. I marvelled at his mapping skills when mine were zero.

Those who ran on those early colour maps of Woodhill will recall the numerous clearings – all done without aid of a GPS.

In my tenure as NZOF Controller I often consulted Ralph, and I always welcomed his advice.

NZ Orienteering has lost an inspirational mentor and legend. We are all poorer for his departure, but richer for the legacy he has left us.

Map the Stars Ralph! RIP.

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