Proud Porirua man held dear
John Ryan – b January 19, 1931; d June 3, 2012.
John Ryan was a man who had a passion for his family, home, people, community and his past.
The life-long Porirua resident died in hospital on June 3 after an illness. He was 81.
As a descendent of the Mungavin family, John had a strong link with Porirua.
The Mungavin farm covered most of Porirua before it was requisitioned by the government for state housing and State Highway 1.
The family were one of Porirua’s pioneer families and were active in community affairs and well known in international sheep-breeding circles. They brought the first romney into New Zealand and won a prestigious award in Paris for breeding romney sheep.
John was extremely fond of the old Mungavin Homestead and often reminisced about times spent there with his family in its beautiful grounds, including the golden macrocarpa tree, which remains today as a landmark in the region.
His mother, Elsie May Mungavin, did not move far from the Mungavin property when she married Thomas Ryan, a local baker from Westport.
Together they established a grocery shop in the Porirua village and, later, another in Paremata.
It was on Titahi Bay beach that John met the love of his life, future wife Doreen O’Hagan. They were happily married for 57 years.
Doreen and John went on to have five children, all whom remain in the Porirua area.
John was always creative in life and finding new solutions for everything, with sport being no different.
With no rugby ground to play on, he got together with a mate to clear the rocks off a field at Ngatitoa Domain, and the Paremata-Plimmerton rugby ground became a reality.
He was also involved in helping build Holy Family Church.
He was interested in everything going on in Porirua and read the local papers cover to cover; he followed local and national government very closely.
He was often seen at the Saturday morning market or checking out local antique fairs and shops looking for a bargain.
In his working life, John was primarily a local milk vendor.
In addition he ran a few small businesses on the side – delivering meat, running a newspaper agency and driving buses.
Daughter Jan Ryan said John lived a good, honest life and was a hardworking Kiwi bloke.
Many folk moved away over the years, but her dad was very proud of his local history and never wanted to leave the city where he had spent his whole life.
Provided by the Ryan family.
Staunch local: John Ryan, who died last month, was a Porirua man, through and through.