A farewell tribute to a ‘Friend, teacher and man of conscience’
By local citizen Alida Van der Velde
John Murray was our friend, teacher and fellow Kapiti Coast resident for more than 25 years.
John died on 17/02/2017 and there was a celebration of his life, and farewell gathering, at the Kapiti Uniting Church at Raumati four days later in which about 300 people took part.
John indeed was a man with an incorruptible conscience who always followed through on the initiatives he took to serve justice, peace, and enhancing understanding.
He tried to do things right for people on an international scale, a national scale, and also at the local level.
Friends and enemies!
Indeed, he made many friends and many enemies in the process!
Alan Tristram has listed a multitude of causes in which John Murray took a leading role in our community.
I can add a few more to Alan’s list: John tried to facilitate, together with Mr Keith Carley, interfaith meetings to help a better understanding between the different faiths in our community.
The international food festival
He also initiated a non-commercial international food festival in the district, also with the aim of people coming together, getting to know each other and understanding each other better while having some fun.
Everything with the aim of better relationships between the people in our community.
Then there was the Waitangi day celebrations — WHAT Waitangi day celebrations? I can still remember John Murray going off to the various mayors at the time with this embarrassingly old leather case, first to Ms Iridi McCloy and later to Mr Alan Milne to initiate these celebrations locally.
Clawing back an accessway
As the Editor mentioned, one of John’s toughest campaigns was trying to ‘claw back’ (as Alan so wonderfully called it!) sole public beach access to 181 Rosetta Road in Raumati.
If it would have been up to the Mayor and (some of the) councillors at the time, pedestrians, big and small, would still be competing with the SUV’s driving forward and backward over this beach access road!
Your readers probably remember many other initiatives in which John Murray was a leading figure.
So, what is the aim of my letter ?
‘We should honour him’
For this man to be forever remembered in Kapiti, we should honour him big time!
Unfortunately, the beach accessway at 181 Rosetta Road already has a name, (I suppose one can always change it!)
But there will be other beach access-ways, reserves or whatever else that is important for us people that can carry his name: The John Murray Way, or Road or Reserve….
As a fellow Kapiti Coaster having benefited from this man’s tireless energy for our district and our people, I feel we need something that continues to remind us of John Murray. Celebrate our talents!
I ask all you creative, intelligent, able minds to brainstorm about this and come up with much better ideas than I have just put onto paper here and/or give me advice regarding the best way
My email address: < firstname.lastname@example.org>
With kindness and peace for all, Alida Van der Velde (Ida).