WHEN a rare sea bird showed up on the Lush family’s lawn one Christmas, they placed it in a box and called the Department of Conservation.
Once staff arrived at their home just outside Te Anau, unbeknown to them, the special discovery had been replaced with a rooster – a practical joke with a priceless reaction.
This was the kind of thing Anthony Lush (61) was known for.
The “quick-witted” farmer and crayfisherman died last month when his truck went off the Lower Hollyford Rd, near the Te Anau-Milford Highway.
Survived by his wife, Adrienne, sons Jason and William, daughters Hannah and Ashleigh, and eight grandchildren under the age of 5 whom he loved immensely, Anthony was a giver, not a taker.
“He was generous, social… he’d drop anything to help someone out and never expected anything in return,” son Jason Lush said.
Mrs Lush remembered a time when the pair were driving and noticed a truck had gone down into a river.
Not only did her husband go and buy rope to pull them out, he invited them over for dinner and had them stay the night.
A community man at heart, he lived just outside of Balfour for half of his life and eventually took over the fourth-generation family beef and sheep farm.
Outside of work, from cricket to bowling, horse racing, volunteering and being a member of the local vintage machinery club, he had a myriad of much-loved hobbies.
He was also a former president of the Balfour Rugby club, where he coached both his sons, as he did later in Te Anau, and was always willing to do what needed to be done for his children.
“Dad worked really hard to support us all the way through our multisport or whatever it was we were doing,” Jason Lush said.
In 1995, he made the move off the farm and to the water with his family to become a crayfisherman in Te Anau.
Despite having little knowledge of the industry, he eventually gained his skipper’s license and ran a successful business with his wife for about 12 years, exporting crayfish around the world.
Several years ago, he went “full circle”, sold their four-tonne quota and returned to work in the agriculture sector.
Respected as a “tireless worker”, his family described him as a selfless man who enjoyed a good joke and would be missed by many.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Lush family was unable to hold a proper funeral.
Instead, they will host a memorial service at the Fiordland Community Events Centre tomorrow, from 2pm, where friends and family were all welcome.