Putting It Right

My Funeral Blues

By Alan Tristram

The Kapiti Coast’s dear friend and mentor, John Murray, was given a wonderful send-off at a packed funeral at Raumati Beach yesterday (see story below).

John Murray

But I apologise for getting one important fact wrong in my eulogy.

John led the campaign to keep the beach accessway at 181 Rosetta Road. I suggested it be named the ‘John Murray Walkway’ in his honour, forgetting that’s it’s already been named Bert’s Way (in honour of the original land donor).

This was a crass error on my part. I am sorry!

I guess I was overcome by the emotion of the event.

The entrance to the accessway, opposite the west end of Menin Road.

The battle for beach access

It was during my term as a Kapiti Coast Councillor that the Very Rev. John Murray, to give him his full title, spotted the fact that KCDC officers had given away full public rights to the beach access.

They did this by allowing the landowner on the north side to use the first half of the access-way as a driveway! When you walk down the path you can see where the original vehicle driveway turned into the adjoining property.

What a terrible prospect it would be in summer, for families with young children and elderly walkers — sharing their peaceful walk with SUV’s, etc.

It was a shocking mistake.

But once that ‘land right’ was given away, it became a valuable commodity. Ultimately the KCDC had to pay dearly for this ‘blue.’

And it took John Murray and the Beach Access Group four years of tenacious battling to reclaim the right. Many of us had to pay out of our own pockets to help finance this struggle with a seemingly all-powerful Council.

Most councillors, and the Mayor at the time, Alan Milne, refused to support us initially. They probably realized how much this debacle was going to cost the ratepayers. But it didn’t say much for their sense of justice.

However, John and his wonderful team (including, I’m proud to say, my wife Helen) kept at it.

KCDC Mayor K Gurunathan

They were honourably supported by one media person in particular — none other than the present Mayor, K. Gurunathan (Guru). None of us ever forgot that he was the one reporter prepared to give us the time of day over the long haul. Thank you Guru. I know John thanks you.

The moral right

It’s worth counterpointing this story because it shows how often good people have to fight tooth and nail to get a wrong rectified.

John Murray was the perfect man for this task.

‘The John Murray Steps’ ?

Perhaps we can honour him by naming the steps at the west of the accessway, ‘The John Murray Steps.’