A devoted stalwart
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.’’