After hearing the exhaustive list of contributions Peter Bos has made to Hamilton city and its people, his grandson Arie remarked, “Opa, you’ve done so many things!”
Mr Bos, affectionately known as Bossy, or opa [Dutch for grandfather], was presented with Hamilton City Council’s Freedom Holder of the City Award at a ceremony at FMG Stadium Waikato last night.
Freedom Holder of the City is presented for significant and sustained contributions to Hamilton, with Mr Bos the 26th recipient of the city’s highest civic honour.
The venue for the ceremony was fitting, with one of Mr Bos’s major achievements being the forming of Friends of the Stadium, which petitioned for the upgrade of the former Rugby Park.
“We arguably wouldn’t be gathered in what is a world-class stadium, the best in New Zealand for watching rugby, if not for Peter’s determination and skill in building relationships,” said Deputy Mayor Martin Gallagher.
Mr Bos went on to hold various roles during the stadium’s construction and early running, culminating in being the regional chairman and ambassador for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and being named as the stadium’s Patron in 2013.
From 1998 to 2013, Mr Bos served five consecutive terms as a Hamilton City Councillor representing the East Ward.
In that time, he single-handedly initiated Hamilton’s relationship with the Belgian city of Ypres, which has led to the development of the Ypres Garden in Memorial Park, and the reciprocal unveiling of Hamilton Park in Ypres.
“You’re not only a legend in the Waikato, you’re a legend in Ypres as well,” said Hamilton City Council Deputy Chief Executive Lance Vervoort.
“Your enthusiasm and passion is absolutely genuine, and your loyalty to the people you work with is unwavering. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Hamilton, Hamilton City Council and the Waikato.”
Mr Bos’s Freedom Holder of the City recognition comes on top of having been awarded an MBE in 1990 for a long and decorated military career, which included receiving the Efficiency Medal and Efficiency Decoration.
Lt Col Olly Te Ua, Military Secretary for the Reserve Force of the New Zealand Army, served in the same regiment as Mr Bos, the 6th Hauraki Battalion.
“It is very rare to see anyone with those two medals together,” said Lt Col Te Ua. “It speaks to Peter’s length of service and his commitment to his country.
“On behalf of the Haurakis, your award today is richly deserved, we’re really proud of you, and we congratulate you on the award.”
All the speakers referenced Mr Bos’s colourful personality and forthright manner.
“You’re a straight shooter and you’re not afraid to speak your mind,” said Hamilton Mayor Andrew King.
“It is my pleasure to be the Mayor who is awarding you Freedom Holder of the City tonight.”
Mr Bos was also self-deprecating about his unique way of getting things done, while also emphasising the importance of teamwork in all his achievements.
“At times in the past, I was rude, hostile, ungrateful, impatient, demanding – and that was just on a good day,” he said. “I’m sorry about that. But if you’re prepared to take the praise, be prepared to take the blame.
“I never did projects or tasks by myself. I always had people who would advise, help, support and encourage. Giving to people or projects for your city or country gives me great satisfaction. The only benefit to self is seeing the benefit to others.”