‘Moko Ap’ killed in cross­ing crash


The day he died, Aporo Joyce planted out his vegetable gar­den.

That night, the 79-year-old was hit and killed by a car in Tawa, north of Welling­ton.

Brenda Joyce, his wife of 50 years, said on Thurs­day, the day af­ter his death, that the re­tired po­lice­man was a ‘‘no-non­sense man’’, who grew the most in­cred­i­ble sun­flow­ers.

‘‘I had been think­ing about his 80th birth­day,’’ she said.

No charges have been laid in re­la­tion to his death. Po­lice said the driver of the car that hit Joyce had been spo­ken to, and the se­ri­ous crash unit was in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

The crash hap­pened about 6pm on Wed­nes­day in Main Rd, near the junc­tion with Es­sex St, and po­lice could be seen ex­am­in­ing the nearby pedes­trian cross­ing.

Joyce, from the Nga Puhi iwi, was well known in Porirua for both his polic­ing work and his com­mu­nity spirit.

Known as ‘‘Ap’’ or ‘‘Moko Ap’’ by his fam­ily, he could re­late to any eth­nic group, his wife said.

‘‘He didn’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween peo­ple, whether they were gang mem­bers or the mayor.’’

The cou­ple, who met when Joyce was sta­tioned in Cyprus, had no chil­dren of their own, but nieces and neph­ews of his 11 sib­lings al­ways filled their house.

Kane Mokomoko said his un­cle was fa­mous for his straight talk­ing.

‘‘He never minced his words, he said what he thought and didn’t wrap it up for any­one.’’

He re­called the sur­prise 70th birth­day the fam­ily threw for his koro. ‘‘He was fu­ri­ous at the sur­prise ... but he did ac­tu­ally en­joy it.’’

Joyce started his po­lice ca­reer in Auck­land, be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to Welling­ton, where he was a mem­ber of the armed of­fend­ers squad and dog squad.

He chose to be sta­tioned in Wai­tan­girua, then Can­nons Creek, where he fo­cused on help­ing the area’s young peo­ple.

Les­ley Mokomoko said her un­cle loved hav­ing his photo taken. ‘‘He was good look­ing, and he al­ways re­minded us of that,’’ she laughed.

‘‘Un­cle Ap’’ would rest at Porirua’s Maraeroa Marae be­fore be­ing taken home to the Hokianga, she said.

He­len Web­ber, of He Huarahi Ta­mariki, Tawa’s school for teenage par­ents, said Joyce was in­stru­men­tal in start­ing the school 20 years ago.

‘‘He was such a spe­cial per­son, with such a spe­cial heart.’’

Porirua Deputy Mayor Izzy Ford said Joyce would be missed by the city he had done so much for.

‘‘He was one of our peo­ple that you could truly re­fer to as a man driven by, and for, the com­mu­nity.’’

Former Porirua mayor Nick Leggett de­scribed Joyce as a ‘‘star’’ of Porirua and Tawa.

‘‘He had the abil­ity to bang heads to­gether, but was also the kind­est of souls.’’

Joyce’s death would leave a big gap in many or­gan­i­sa­tions, he said.

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