Tribute to Graham Peter Jules Watson

I’ve been absolutely gutted to hear reports that my dear friend, comrade, colleague and best man, Graham Watson, has been tragically killed in a car crash.  He was 47 years old.

Graham was one of my best friends.  He was unfailingly loyal, and a man you would always want on your side if you were in a corner.  Like many people I got to know of him through his notorious political agitation at the University of Auckland, and after I got to know him personally in 1997, we were like peas in a pod.  I worked with him to battle the leftists on the AUSA Executive – taking them to court on several occasions, successfully campaigning for voluntary membership of the student union, and even rolling the Vice President from her position in 1999.

Later he got me a job working for the ACT Party, for which I will forever be grateful, and I worked with him there for the next two years.  He was my co-blogger on The Whig for a short period of time.  In 2009 when I got married, he was my unofficial “best man” and witness.

Graham polarised people – you either loved him and would die in a ditch for him, or you loathed him and would do anything you could to destroy him.  He returned that karma to everyone tenfold, and rarely came out worse off for it.  While not someone with the most animated demeanour, he had a palpable charisma, and, when speaking in public, truly had no equal.  He had a brilliant mind and a piercing intelligence.  He could have been Prime Minister if he had had the discipline and the ability to kiss arse required, but it wasn’t in him.  Graham was definitely a flawed genius.  But he was always driven by a strong sense of morals and values.  He hated liars, and he hated bullies, and there were always plenty of those on the Left.  He inspired me with his fearlessness.

Graham was born and raised in Papakura, an old boy of Dilworth, the only President of the Auckland University Students’ Association to be re-elected twice, a philosophy graduate of the University of Auckland, a businessman, the founder of Auckland University NORML and the Auckland University Drinking Club, a Party Manager of ACT and a fearsome political activist and campaigner.  I am so proud to have known him and been a part of his life, and had him be a part of mine.

Rest in Peace, Graham, my brother.  You went far too soon, and I will miss you terribly.

14 thoughts on “Tribute to Graham Peter Jules Watson

  1. […] just heard that Graham Watson died in a car crash near Pokeno, and am stunned like many who knew Graham and […]

  2. Campbell P says:

    A terrible tragedy – I also remember celebrating that victory night along with Richard Prebble and Rodney Hide I believe. Those were good times and he will be sadly missed

  3. Chuck Bird says:

    Well said Blair

  4. Tim Selwyn says:

    Shocked to have heard of Graham’s untimely passing. Concur totally in your description. Many memories flooding back… some people think they are stirrers – Graham was the ultimate stirrer!

  5. […] LOVELY TRIBUTE HERE. Oh, boooo. went to Dilworth with graham. He had a very sharp and twisted and funny mind. And was stunning. He was older and i was in the same year as his brother Nigel. His involvement with student politcs in Auckland was hysterical. This is very sad news. READ THE REST HERE. Tweet Posted in Steve Gray […]

  6. […] “Tribute to Graham Peter Jules Watson” Mulholland Drive […]

  7. Darryl Lovegrove says:

    Very well said Blair. Can’t add much except to say that he was also a pretty good singer and a long serving member of the Dilworth choir and played Nanki Poo in the school production of ‘The Mikado’ very well. Dilworth was a tough school in Graham’s years but he was one of the few who never gave younger kids a hard time. He was always good for a laugh and had a huge presence. My thoughts go out to Nigel, Jill and the extended Watson family.

  8. Paranormal says:

    Shocked to hear of Graham’s untimely passing. Thanks for posting Blair.

  9. Aria Perdana says:

    Graham, may rest in peace and all over the world for his good deeds be accepted by God as a preparation towards the Paradise and the family left behind can be strong and brave to face this ordeal, respectful greetings from friends in Indonesia and Kent Watson friend – Aria Perdana

  10. Richard says:

    My condolences, Blair.

  11. Lee Watson says:

    Graham was my 2nd youngest brother, he would’ve been 48 next month (Sept 19th). Dad gave him the nickname ‘Charlie’ and for ages he’d wander around the house rapidly saying, without stopping…….GrahampeterwatsonCharlie’. He was a thin boy, and often in the winter would wake up in the night crying because his legs were cold. I remember once, he came to school ( Kelvin Rd Primary) to find both Kent and me as he’d managed to escape from home but became subsequently lost when trying to re trace his steps, he knew where school was though. He was always bright, and would annoy us with his grasp of anything academic, embarrassingly leaving both Kent and me in the dust with his quick wit. I visited him a few times at Dilworth where he formed great friendships with so many, both pupils and staff. During his university days, I saw him less frequently, although he was often in the news with one thing or another. I remember the ‘love cubicles’ he instigated at University, don’t know if it ever happened, but it sure stirred up a hornets nest. After University, we lost touch, hardly knowing where he was or what he was doing. Now sadly, after receiving that dreaded ph call from my Mother on a wet Oxfordshire evening, and making the mad dash home to say one last goodbye, there’ll be a huge empty hole where the larger than life Graham used to be. A huge thanks to all those who made it to his funeral, and all the great tributes I see in this forum. Lee Watson

  12. Sue says:

    I remember a super sharp mind, quick wit, adventure seeking, challengingly, charming with a slightly devious streak. I remember Grahame being trailed through Uni and Domain by Buzz, his beloved black and white moggie. Fun nights playing Risk til dawn, no doubt he had many tricks up his sleeve.sad he has died so young. Sue

  13. Mark Easton says:

    Was just thinking about Graham today. Still feel incredibly sad about his passing in 2012. I went to school with Graham (Dilworth). He was just this very unique and amazingly intelligent character that was larger than life. Miss him terribly.

    • Carinne says:

      This is extremely sad , I spent time with Wally over 1986-1987, we were close for awhile until AUSA – and all the trappings kinda took him over. He was most undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with…my heartfelt sympathies to his family . Have missed his friendship and humour may he RIP….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: