The highly respected community Paekakariki leader Adrian Webster and his wife Marei have been discovered dead in their home at Ames Street, Paekakariki.
The deaths have sent shock waves through the small and tightly-knit community, where Mr Webster has served for many years as Community Board chair.
People have gathered in the cafes, pub and public places — and called into each others’ homes — to share the news and support each other. It’s heartland New Zealand where any one death, let along two, diminishes the whole community.
Their bodies were located at the property this morning.
Officer in charge of the Kapiti Mana CIB, Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Oxnam, says Police were called to the address by Ambulance staff shortly before 10am, after family members found the bodies at the address.
“The deceased are believed to be that of 71 year old Adrian Webster and his wife Marei Webster, aged 76 years, however they are yet to be formally identified,” he said at a news conference.
Shock waves through community
The deaths have sent shock waves through the small seaside town, where Mr Webster served for nearly eight years as community Board chairman – and took a leading part in the affairs of the KCDC.
After the news spread, a group of people who obviously knew the couple were seen hugging and crying on the street.
Mr Webster’s wife Marei, a highly skilled horticulturalist like Adrian, was also also well-known and liked in the community.
The couple were virtually inseparable and attended every possible Paekakariki gathering – often just to lend their moral support.
They had a large family; and for both this was their second marriage.
Adrian Webster also took a leading part in the saving of Whareroa Farm for the community by preventing its sale to private developers.
Major improvements guided by Webster
He was instrumental in helping to get major improvements made to the main street of Paekakariki — and in getting St Peter’s Hall handed over to the community by the Anglican Church.
And under his watch, most of the Paekakariki seafront has been protected from the sea by a strengthened rock wall, with a sea front walk added as well – in a Council-funded project.
Mr Webster was believed to have been suffering from stomach cancer for about year. He was in bed for the last few weeks and was believed to have had only had a few weeks to live.
D/S/S Oxnam says the circumstances surrounding their deaths do not appear to be suspicious at this stage.
However,he says, Police are remaining open-minded and cannot rule out the involvement of any other persons at this time.
“A thorough scene examination is continuing this afternoon and the bodies are likely to be removed from the scene later this afternoon for post-mortems to be carried out over the weekend.”
Mike Oxnam says, “Our thoughts are with the wider family who have asked for privacy at this sad time and do not wish to be contacted by media.”