Rowan Era Celebrated

By Roger Childs

 What an extraordinary journey! The last six years have been absolutely outstanding. Jenny Rowan

Supporters gather to farewell the former mayor

 Jenny RowanAn enthusiastic group of 150-200 well-wishers met at the Hockey Turf Stadium in Paraparaumu last night to pay tribute to former mayor Jenny Rowan.

The gathering comprised a diverse group of people —  from children to the elderly; former and present councillors; leaders of community groups and organisations; and family and friends.

They all shared a common respect for the former mayor and the contribution that Jenny Rowan, and her wife, Jools Josslyn, have made to the Kapiti District over the last six years.

A positive and enjoyable evening

 jenny photo 2The gathering was coordinated by Jenny’s long-time Paekakariki friend Allie Webber. Corran Crisp from Beach FM, em’ceed the show with a light and humorous touch.

Although there was obvious disappointment about the outcome of the election, this was not a session about recriminations and analysis of what went wrong.

Rather, the emphasis was on celebrating achievement and community action.

After the well-wishers had gathered, the proceedings got off to a noisy and exhilarating start, as young Taiko Drummers performed with great skill and precision. The group are a favourite of the former mayor and she was delighted with the vigorous display – especially an item composed in her honour.

Accentuate the positive

There were ten speakers representing different groups and interests who had worked with Jenny Rowan and the Council in recent years. All spoke of her legendary hard work, commitment, energy, involvement with a huge range of people and groups, and her devotion to the interests of the wider Kapiti community.

  • Te Waari Carkeek spoke of the former mayor’s work with local Maori groups. It’s been a privilege to work with Jenny,he said. The mayor was well known for her knowledge of Maori protocol and beliefs, and her respect for the Kapiti tangata whenua.
  •  Allie Webber has a close association with Jenny Rowan through the Kapiti US Marines trust and other local groups and ventures. She said, Jenny is the consummate community person.
  • Local historian Anthony Dreaver talked about Jenny Rowan’s role in getting the Paekakariki Station Museum up and running, and her place in the overall development of the Kapiti Coast… the whole place has been uplifted; she’s been good for the history of this district.
  • Chair of the Kapiti Aquatic Centre Trust, Neil Mackay, spoke of the crucial role the former mayor had played in bringing the state of the art facility to fruition: The Aquatic Centre is a testament to your leadership.
  • Max Lutz from the Friends of the Otaki River commented on Jenny Rowan’s enthusiastic commitment to improved access along the river banks, notably the Chrystalls Bend development and the bridge over the river close to the beach. She helped us get things done.
  • Otaki Councillor Penny Gaylor spoke warmly of the former mayor’s commitment to progress in Otaki and the wider district, and her role in assisting Penny in her position as a new councillor. Nobody could have loved Kapiti more than Jenny.
  • Grey Power’s Betty van Gaalen emphasized Jenny Rowan’s concern for the natural world of Kapiti. …you have supported the environmental sustainability of the District, untiringly, unfailingly…
  • Jacob Barker, Head Student of Paraparaumu College, talked about the former mayor’s empathy with the young people of the district and support for the Youth Council. She embraced all of the community and never forgot the future generation.
  • Teenager Kendra spoke from the heart about her fear of meeting the mayor, but how contact with Jenny Rowan turned her life around. Next year she will be off to  university. She took the time to get to know me. I would not be where I am today without Jenny.
  • Pak’n Save’s Glen Taylor commented on the former mayor’s wide involvement with a diverse range of Kapiti enterprises and groups. … a great record of building strong relationships with the community.

The former mayor speaks

 Jenny Rowan showed no bitterness when she spoke to the attentive audience. She said she was OK and had taken the election defeat in her stride. However, she did concede that she didn’t sleep well after hearing the result and that she and Jools drove round the district at 3 o’clock in the morning!

 She acknowledged the district’s Maori heritage and its spiritual essence and most of her speech was about other people. This evening is a celebration of everyone in this room. What a privilege it’s been to work with you.

 She spoke of the teamwork and collaboration of people and groups in building a resilient community. The role of the 2010-2013 Council was the highlight for her and she praised the achievements of the councillors in taking some tough decisions which will, in her view, stand the Kapiti Community in good stead.

Jenny photo 1Of the future, she wished the new Council well and stressed that she will continue to be involved locally in the Kapiti US Marines Trust, Whareroa Farm and other ventures.

 She acknowledged the support she had received from many people, especially Jools, Allie and her family who she proudly introduced.

Will her story be told for posterity? She said: I will write a book sometime, but a lot of people will have to die first!


Although somewhat sad, it was a joyful occasion where people celebrated Jenny’s tenure of
Office. As well has talking about sustainable Kapiti I also talked of how Jenny came to set up the Older Persons Council and her relationship with the elders in the community.
Wishing you well in the future Jenny whatever you choose to do.

It has been a pleasure to be involved with Jenny through the Kapiti US Marines Trust and other projects in the district. she has been a guiding light for all who have had the pleasure of working with her. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to attend the function organised for her last Wednesday night, and for all the other occasions where Jenny has excelled herself with her wonderful leadership qualifications. There is still much more for her to be involved in, in this district and I sincerely hope it wont be long before we see both her and Jools leading us safely again through whatever the future has in store for us. Kia kaha Jenny and Jools two very special people in my life.
Joan Ellis

When I arrived at the Airport you where there. You were there when I left 6 wks later. How wonderful those 6 wks where. Your true love of people showed in our every visit. When we spoke of Kapiti your dedication to the well (beinbg) of the area was more important than Jenny Rowan.

Thank you for showing an old Marine, you New Zealanders are still the greatest.

C laude Bohn

Congratulations Jenny and for your huge support over the past 6 years of MWCs.
Sorry to have missed it. Gladdened to read that we will still work together with the Kapiti US Marines Trust next May. Roger Fox will bring a star studded list of guests! Cheers to you.

It was a great evening and I will miss her ability to lead us through the next three critical years.