The Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board is naming a beach accessway in Groves Rd, Raumati Beach, in memory of the late Very Reverend John Murray.

Parks and recreation manager Alison Law said Rev Murray was a man whose thinking was decades ahead of his time.

He supported same-sex couples to marry, backed people suffering from terminal illness to die with dignity, against All Blacks tours to apartheid South Africa and more.

Shortly after Rev Murray died in February 2017 an approach was made to council from Alida van der Velde seeking a memorial.


After over two years, Alida's, and others, wishes have come true with the board deciding in favour of naming the accessway after Rev Murray.

Groves Rd beach access looking from beach.
Groves Rd beach access looking from beach.

Voting in favour of naming the beach accessway in memory of Rev Murray were Paraparaumu ward councillors Fiona Vining and Mark Benton as well as board members Guy Burns and Bernie Randall.

Board member Kathy Spiers voted against while board chairman Jonny Best abstained from voting.

Ms Spiers said "no comment" about the way she voted.

"I exercised my right as a board member and I am not interested in getting into a discussion why I abstained," Mr Best said.

Alida was rapt with the board's decision in favour of the beach accessway naming.

Groves Rd beach access.
Groves Rd beach access.

"We are absolutely delighted and relieved because this has been going on for so long.

"It is a victory for freedom, human rights, hands on progressive Christianity, and Māori/Pākehā relationships."


Alida praised the support of local iwi Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai especially Andre Baker who advised about Māori protocols and the role of Māori in the process.

She thanked Salima Padamsey who had "worked with amazing dedication on this project".

"She didn't know John Murray, she didn't know any of our group, and there she was ready to help as best as she could."

And Alida was grateful to Cr Benton who "worked as the glue that brought matters together".

"We are very grateful to him.

"It has been hard slog for him."

"At last some sort of justification has been made for all the work John did in this district," Rev Murray's wife Shirley Murray said.

Mr Burns and Mr Randall said, "We are disappointed that the process of naming the walkway was severely delayed by the failure of council to adequately consult with Ātiawa iwi.

"Andre Baker, chairman of Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust has asked our board to review council process in relation to iwi consultation.

"We have requested our board to undertake such a review, which our chair will carry out and report back at its next meeting."