The passing of Keith Roebuck

Keith Roebuck: Peerless Supporter

It is with great sadness we report the passing of Keith Robert Roebuck on Sunday 1 November 2020.

Keith Roebuck, who was tragically killed in a hit and run road smash two weeks ago, will forever be remembered at the Chookhouse as one of our most fanatical supporters. To say Keith loved his club rugby is a serious understatement- he was more passionate about supporting the Chooks at the grassroots level than watching the All Blacks or the Taranaki Bulls and, as for Super Rugby, that was always Keith’s lowest priority.

Over the past 128 years, there has only been one man awarded a life membership for his passionate support of the Blue and Whites, and that was John Stapleton back in 1903. If we were considering life memberships these days for mad keen supporters then Keith Roebuck would be the leading contender.

For at least the past two decades Keith’s routine for home games at Sanders Park consisted of “brunch” at the NP Club along with his Tukapa mates Pat Scannell, Ron McLeod, Ken McDonald and, when he was back in town, Johnny (the Grocer) Gray. Having placed some bets on the horses and lubricating their tonsils, the boys would eventually make their way up to Sanders Park, usually running late and then moaning about a lack of handy parking places, before finding a perch on the crowded deck outside the Chookhouse.

For Keith and Ken, both being vertically challenged, the problem at every home game was not being able to see over the heads of the fans crowding out the front of the deck. However, this problem was overcome by them borrowing a couple of beer crates so they could then peer over the top of the other spectators. During each afternoon, led by Keith, the boys would keep the sale of green-bottled beer going at a not-so-steady pace, which would then carry on till at least 7pm in the evening.

Apart from home games, Keith and his mates also traveled to all of the Tukapa Senior A team’s away fixtures; never in the supporters’ bus but always in the private vehicle of the designated sober driver, which was never Keith.
Keith’s main sporting success as an athlete was in surf lifesaving as a proud member at East End SLSC for over 55 years, culminating in him being awarded life membership in 2013. Apart from winning championship titles as a competitor, Keith also coached several women’s teams to gold medal success in both the six place and four place rescue and resuscitation events.

At Tukapa, Keith played initially for our Under 19s, then the Colts, the Senior B’s and then the Senior Thirds. He ended his playing days with our Senior Fourths alongside club stalwarts such as Wayne Penn, who fondly recalls Keith’s off-field contribution to the social side of the game on memorable away trips to such places as Mokau and Whangamomona.

Keith’s funeral service is being held at 11am this coming Sunday (22 November) at the NPBHS Assembly Hall, followed by a send-off at East End Surf Club. The club extends condolences to Keith’s wife Louise and his extended family. We also wish Louise a speedy recovery from the injuries she received in the incident.



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New Plymouth, 4310

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Scott Siffleet
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