* Robert (Bob) White, JP, QSO, CSTJ (commander of the Order of St John), 21 years Mayor of Papatoetoe. Died aged 91.

Bob White was once spotted sitting on the floor of his mayoral office eating fish and chips with a family who had had some of their belongings repossessed. It was, he reasoned, his duty to help them - they were his constituents.

White was Mayor of Papatoetoe from 1965 to 1986, and his open-door problem-solving clinics on Friday nights, such as the fish and chips effort, were a hallmark of his 21-year reign in the South Auckland city.

Another hallmark was the yearly inspection of facilities when councillors and staff travelled around Papatoetoe City deciding what needed to be done.

It was followed by the traditional post-inspection lunch - ham sandwiches and salmon sandwiches made by White's wife Kitty - back at their Station Rd house, their home for almost 60 years.

Bob White was passionate about Papatoetoe and vehemently opposed the 1989 local body amalgamation in which the new super-city of Manukau engulfed his smaller city. But he was also a bigger-picture man.

He foresaw traffic trouble in the region and throughout the 1970s he battled for a rapid-rail system connecting the south with Auckland City.

In 1981, he called for photographs to be included on driver licences to reduce fraud, to stop disqualified drivers from using friends' licences and for ease of identification when cashing cheques. He saw this ambition come to fruition.

His community duties did not stop at the mayoralty. He was a member of the Auckland Education Board, the local Plunket committee, Papatoetoe West School committee and the Papatoetoe Licensing Trust, among others.

While president of the Papatoetoe and Mangere sub-centres of St John in 1975, he was invested as an officer of the Order of St John by the then Governor-General, Sir Denis Blundell. He was later made a commander of the order.

He was registrar of Homai College for the Blind until his mayoral work became too much. In 1982, he was made a companion of the Queen's Service Order for public service.

At age 86 he learned to use computers and then helped senior would-be cyber-surfers to do the same.

His wife died seven years ago. Bob White is survived by two daughters and a son, six grandchildren and five great- grandchildren.