Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | March 2020

Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | March 2020 1602 1773 The Flyer Magazine
Confessions of a Queenstown Dad

Most of you would have heard over the last year about my brother, Blair Vining, whose battle with cancer, (and the government) moved a nation to sign his petition to get a cancer agency set up in New Zealand. His tireless efforts, despite being in chronic pain, really moved me and everyone about him.

He was never really an educated man in the scholarly sense as he didn’t read or write much and was at school for lunch and rugby. But after his diagnosis and his decision to fight the system, he read, wrote and spoke publicly against a system which was a ‘postcode lottery’. And Southland was in the wrong postcode when it came to getting cancer treatment. I was inspired because he was just an ordinary Kiwi bloke who saw something wrong and broken and wanted to fix it. It made me realise that we can all make a difference if we have enough ‘fire’ to want something to change.

Blair was nothing special (hear me right, he was an awesome brother, father, husband, coach and friend by all accounts but no different to the next guy). And yet he has changed New Zealand history for the good. We all have been affected by cancer and the stats show that in the near future up to 50 percent of Kiwis will get cancer of some type in their lifetime. Everyone will be affected somehow, so the new cancer agency is going to play a part in all of our lives in some way.

My brother was awesome, the only problem I have with him now is that I don’t have my own identity anymore. Even in Queenstown, which has been my home for more than 20 years I’m now known as ‘Blair Vining’s brother’.

Just the other day someone whom I’ve known for eight years introduced me to someone (who I also know) as, this is Shaun Vining “Blair Vining’s brother”. I mean ‘what the heck’. All I could hear was my brother laughing and saying he got me again.

At my brother’s funeral, during his eulogy video recording ( is videoing still a thing?), he said he was going to have the last joke on me and it looks like he is here to haunt me for quite some time.

But you know what? Even if it sticks forever I don’t mind. There could be a lot worse things than being referred to as the real ‘New Zealander of the Year’s brother.

I just hope I can live up to the legacy he has left.