Jim Webber’s Final Voyage to  Kāpiti Island

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The coffin of Jim  Webber, strapped to the bottom of a dinghy, is pushed out to sea at Paraparaumu Beach by his sons and grandson for his final journey back home to Kāpiti Island.

Jim —  journalist, expert on Maoritanga, and tireless worker for the disabled — died last week in Wellington Hospital after a short illness.

Māori from throughout the District, family members and pakeha friends, including Kāpiti’s Mayor, K Gurunathan, gathered

Mayor K Gurunathan gestures toward Jim’s widow Diana during his eulogy, while young family members keep vigil besides Jim Webber’s coffin.

on the beach  yesterday morning for a moving tangihanga ceremony of farewell.

Then his son Karl piloted the small boat, with other young family members aboard, through choppy waters to a burial site on the family urupa at the north end of Kāpiti Island.

A small group of family members also made the journey to Kāpiti aboard a large launch used for regular services to the Island.

Jim Webber came from the large and well-established Webber family, which has historic links to the earliest Maori settlements on Kāpiti Island.

His son Karl, who piloted the boat,  and his partner, live on a small island just of the north-east coast of Kāpiti Island.

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Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane

The totara has fallen in the forest of Tane

As an old workmate of Jim’s and a fellow editor of Polio News, I was saddened to hear of his passing. I remember him as a great and friendly guy who often gave me (good) advice during our intersecting careers. Our love goes out to his family and other friends. While we might not feel the depth of your grief, we do share in the sense of loss and remember his triumphs and achievements.The Jim I knew will live on in my heart and mind’s eye.

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