‘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.