Dannevirke: Tributes to true grafter

By Christine McKay

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Tararua District councillor Keith Fenemor died on Sunday after a long fight with cancer. Photo / Christine McKay
Tararua District councillor Keith Fenemor died on Sunday after a long fight with cancer. Photo / Christine McKay

Tararua district councillor Keith Fenemor leaves behind a big legacy of community service following his death on Sunday.

Mr Fenemor, 68, a third-term councillor, was quite amazing in the amount of work he put into his role, despite his long battle with cancer, Tararua District mayor Roly Ellis said.

"Keith has been exceptional and there wouldn't be many councillors who have put in the hours and time behind the scenes he did. And his research into both of his council portfolios was quite amazing."

Mr Ellis originally met Mr Fenemor in 1997 when both men were farming.

"I'd arrived here a year earlier and was farming at Waitahora, while Keith was at Mangahei," Mr Ellis said.

"We'd always bump into each other at open farming days for sheep and beef farmers and discuss the issues."

In 2010 Mr Fenemor was one of the people who approached Mr Ellis to stand for Tararua District Council at a byelection.

"Keith had already been a councillor for 18 months and for the rest of that term he was extremely helpful as I came to understand the rates issues, roading, water and waste-water, as well as general council matters," Mr Ellis said.

After the next local body elections Mr Fenemor was given the water and waste-water portfolios which he held for the next six years.

"He made a massive contribution to getting the many water and waste-water projects completed in conjunction with Dave Watson, council's utilities manager and council chief executive Blair King who advised on engineering issues," Mr Ellis said.

"The thing about Keith, he always gave a very pragmatic and practical view of things and during my time as mayor I've been extremely lucky to have had someone who worked tirelessly for better infrastructure throughout Tararua. We are now seeing the results of his hard work."

Mr Fenemor was also appointed director of Tararua Forests. And in conjunction with Forest Owner Marketing Services and Marcus Musson, the forestry asset has been completely turned around into a good profit-making venture over the past six years, Mr Ellis said.

"Again Keith's knowledge of forestry on his own farm helped lead to this great success. Keith was always a very inquisitive councillor on many different issues around the council table and he also had an exceptional relationship with council staff."

District council staff who worked with Mr Fenemor told the Dannevirke News they appreciated his practical, common-sense approach to issues.

And Mr Ellis said Mr Fenemor was looking forward to seeing the completion of the Pahiatua and Woodville water projects, as well as Dannevirke's number one waste-water pond.

"He'd given so much time to those projects," he said. "And he was also looking forward to the completion of the tidying up of Birch Rd forest and the ongoing replanting and thinning.

"Keith spent a lot of time talking, not only about his portfolio work, but on a diverse range of issues with me, during his years as a councillor. But he was also a very community-minded councillor who was always available to residents throughout Tararua.

"He will certainly be missed by so many in different organisations, especially amongst the farming community. A lot of farmers took roading issues to Keith, especially when they had problems with blocked culverts."

Mr Fenemor was always determined to ensure there were successful outcomes to issues which affected our community, including roading problems, Mr Ellis said.

"We've lost a well-respected and hardworking councillor and friend," he said.

- A funeral service for Mr Fenemor will be held tomorrow at The Hub, Allardice St, at 1.30pm.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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