Len Snee, Senior Constable with the New Zealand Police was tragically killed this morning while on duty in Napier.
I remember Len Snee from my student days at Central Hawkes Bay College. I looked up to him, partly because he was at least three years ahead of me and taller and much bigger, but also because he was one of those quiet confident types that seem to command respect just by being themselves.
I played the part of Oliver in the high school musical production in 1974 – I was a very skinny 13 year old kid. If my memory serves me correctly Len Snee played the part, somewhat reluctantly, of Mr Bumble. He was instructed to grow sideburns, no doubt in an attempt to mimic Harry Secombe who played that role in the 1968 film. Sideburns appeared forthwith. He was a man with a beard even at 17 years of age.
As well, Len Snee was admired by the girls – my sister can vouch for that. He was in the First XV and (again, forgive my shaky memory) was excellent at athletics. All of this no doubt assisted in his desire to be a police officer. In the mid seventies, growing up in a small country town, and with limited horizons, becoming a police officer would always be a good choice. Certainly better than working in a bank, or becoming a teacher.
So, even though I haven’t seen Len Snee for over thirty years, and even if I had there is a certainty that he might not recognise or remember me, I still feel somehow connected to the pain that his family is going through today. There’s a road at the end of the Takapau Plains called Snee Road. It sounds silly but every time I pass that road I’m reminded of Len Snee – regardless of how well I did or didn’t know him.
There will be many many people out there who will have fond and happy memories of Len. Please feel free to leave your comments here for his family and friends.