A de­voted stal­wart

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By ZOE GE­ORGE

Tim Shep­pard has expressed deep sad­ness and shock on be­half of Porirua City Coun­cil fol­low­ing the sud­den deaths last Fri­day of Paekakariki Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Adrian Web­ster and his wife Marei.

The north­ern ward coun­cil­lor said Mr Web­ster was a gen­uine, com­mu­nity-spir­ited per­son and a tire­less ad­vo­cate for his lo­cal com­mu­nity.

‘‘But as chair of the Trans­mis­sion Gully Ac­tion Group (TGAG), Adrian be­came a huge stal­wart in ad­vo­cat­ing for many Porirua City com­mu­ni­ties as well, es­pe­cially those af­fected by the cur­rent route of State High­way 1.

‘‘It was Adrian’s pas­sion and com­mit­ment as leader of TGAG that was so im­por­tant in help­ing gal­vanise these com­mu­ni­ties in 2006, into mak­ing many of the 6000 public sub­mis­sions to the Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil in sup­port of Trans­mis­sion Gully High­way.’’

Mr Shep­pard said Mr Web­ster de­vel­oped ex­per­tise in traf­fic man­age­ment is­sues from a com­mu­nity per­spec­tive and also shared that knowl­edge with Porirua com­mu­ni­ties, such as Pukerua Bay.

‘‘The Porirua com­mu­nity con­sid­ered him a good friend and ad­vo­cate and he will be sadly missed.’’

Fam­ily mem­bers found Mr Web­ster, 71, and Mrs Web­ster, 76, dead at their Ames St home on March 2 and called ambu- lance staff, who alerted po­lice shortly af­ter 10am, said De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Ian Martin.

‘‘The deaths of Mr and Mrs Web­ster are be­ing re­ferred to the coroner and po­lice will con­tinue mak­ing en­quiries into their deaths on be­half of the coroner.’’

It is un­der­stood Mr Web­ster had been bat­tling can­cer, but friends were only told how se­ri­ous it was days be­fore his death.

Kapiti Mana CIB De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Mike Ox­nam said: ‘‘Our thoughts are with the wider fam­ily, who have asked for privacy at this sad time.

‘‘My ini­tial take on [the fam­ily] is that they are a very tight fam­ily, they are very strong and very sup­port­ive of each other.’’

Word of the deaths spread quickly through the Paekakariki com­mu­nity, with peo­ple turn­ing up at Ames St to see what had hap­pened.

Friends and col­leagues de­scribed the Web­sters as a close, lov­ing cou­ple, ded­i­cated to their com­mu­nity.

Paekakariki Com­mu­nity Board mem­ber He­len Keivom spent two terms on the com­mu­nity board with Mr Web­ster.

‘‘ They were an ab­so­lutely lovely cou­ple and so much in love even af­ter 20 years of mar­riage.

‘‘Marei would al­ways come to meet­ings and was an ad­viser to Adrian. He would al­ways credit her.’’

Mr Web­ster was first elected to the com­mu­nity board in 2004 af­ter a ca­reer as a trade union­ist. He was ap­pointed chair­man that same year. Known for tena­cious ded­i­ca­tion to com­mu­nity is­sues, he was a vo­cal cham­pion for the area.

The cou­ple ran a nurs­ery in the town and their per­sonal gar­den was the envy of many lo­cals and had fea­tured on a tele­vi­sion gar­den show.

She last heard from Mr Web­ster on March 1 when he sent her a text mes­sage.

He also emailed her last week re­gard­ing or­gan­is­ing a meet­ing with NZ Trans­port Agency to dis­cuss the town’s prob­lem­atic State High­way 1 in­ter­sec­tion.

‘‘I hope it is some­thing we can achieve for him,’’ she said. ‘‘He was think­ing not just about peo­ple but the com­mu­nity to the very end. I can­not stress enough how much he has done for the area with much of it un­seen. They have left a gap­ing hole. They were part of the fab­ric of Paekakariki.’’

Ms Keivom had known Mrs Web­ster for more than 20 years, was friends with her chil­dren and will re­mem­ber her fondly.

‘‘ She was such a beau­ti­ful lady. Joy and love ra­di­ated from her and she was so gra­cious.

‘‘ Marei told me two days ear­lier he was very ill and felt it was the time to let other peo­ple know,’’ said Ms Keivom.

‘‘It was part of his com­mit­ment to the com­mu­nity. He kept it quiet so he could con­tinue for as long as pos­si­ble.

‘‘He was ded­i­cated and knew no bounds.’’

Adrian Web­ster fought hard for Trans­mis­sion Gully and worked keenly with the Porirua com­mu­nity. Photo: Fair­fax.

Great con­tri­bu­tion:

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