Kāpiti should honour Rev John Murray

At a recent KCDC meeting, local resident Ida Van der Velde spoke with strong conviction to convince council that the Reverend John Murray who died in February this year should be honoured by the community he served so well.

Below is an abridged version of the speech Ida made to Council.

“John has been a leader in many important, often secular, issues on an international, national and local level. He always stood up for his conscience, justice and peace and did never hesitate to speak up and always followed matters through. Of course, he was liked and disliked by many in the process. This however did never influence his work, he continued to stand up for what he believed in and followed it through, independent of the feedback he received.

On a local level:

– John made a compelling case to the local Government Commission which led to the establishment of the Paraparaumu/ Raumati Community Boards. (Government wanted to abolish these altogether).

– He supported the lengthy campaign to get a new library building for Paraparaumu (the Council wanted to house the library in Coastlands)

– He was leading the campaign to “claw back” the beach access way at 181 Rosetta Road in Raumati. Thanks to John’s actions Council finally saw the light and restored full public access to the beach despite lack of support of many of the councillors. The struggle took many years of hard work, but John and a small team of locals never gave up and won the case, and we now have full public access.

– He facilitated together with Mr. Keith Carley Interfaith meetings to help a better understanding of people of different faiths in the area

– He initiated a non-commercial international food festival in the district with the aim of people of different cultures to get to know each other while having some fun

– Then there was Waitangi day celebrations. Well there were none at the Kāpiti Coast. John visited various Mayors (Mr Milne, Ms McCloy) initially with little success, to initiate Waitangi day celebrations in the district, which are now of course established and part of our culture

– He was involved with Amnesty International, the Peace Movement, White Ribbon day, the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and the White Poppies initiative and much more.

This man has been a giant in our district for many years and we should honour him big time.

It is important for us to remember him and all he has done for us and for future generations.

I trust you, the Mayor, the Councillors and the Paraparaumu/Raumati Community Board to look at my initiative, which will be supported by lots of locals, and realise my initiative into “brick and mortar”, in honour or John Murray.”

Since the address, Council has given an undertaking that they will work with the local community board to develop a fitting memorial to one of Kāpiti’s most prominent and respected citizens.