A widely respected stalwart of the Paekākāriki community was farewelled on Wednesday.

The Paekākāriki Memorial Hall was packed for the memorial service of John Porter.

John, 86, passed away last month but his legacy will be remembered for many years to come.

He loved the small seaside village, knew what made villagers tick on various levels, and could be relied on to make wise decisions for the betterment of the community, based on thorough research.


Paekākāriki Surf Lifeguards was a key part of his life where he was a valued competitor in his younger years and coach, mentor and administrator later on.

He was a life member of the club as well as Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, and had a 60 year badge.

"JP's heart was always for the good of the club and I'm pretty sure he would have been pleased with the club's results from the national championships held last weekend and the overall state of the club today," friend John Hook said.

"JP, John, you have made an outstanding contribution to surf lifesaving in Paekākāriki and New Zealand."

The surf club is on the doorstep of Queen Elizabeth Park which would also be important to him in terms of helping protect and nurturing it for the future.

He was a founding member of Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park as well as a founding member of Whareroa Guardians, a group which formed after the community banded together to stop the government from selling Whareroa Farm for development.

"It was John who placed a tiny advertisement [proposing slicing the farm up for private development] in my hand, at my community board meeting, and said I better have a look at this," former Kāpiti mayor Jenny Rowan said.

John, who was born in Hamilton but spent most of his life in Paekākāriki "always had a presence and when he spoke you listened", she said.


"His honesty, goodwill, generosity and integrity allowed him to meet disagreement with patience and good humour.

"His research for the truth now leaves us standing on solid rocks.

"But we also remember John for his openness, his friendship, his inclusiveness and his kindness."

She noted his battle with the National Geographic Board which was "a lesson to us all".

For many years John campaigned for the board to change MacKays Crossing to Mackays Crossing which they eventually would do, changing the capital K to a small k, delighting him.

He knew descendants of the Mackay family, had photographs of the Mackay cemetery as well as birth certificates and death notices from a newspaper from some of the Mackay family.

"People have said 'you'll never convince the board to change' but I knew I was right," he said to Kapiti News in June 2016.

John, who was a young boy when US Marines were stationed in and around Queen Elizabeth Park during World War II, was a strong presence each year in Anzac Day commemorations. He was also a founding member of the Kapiti US Marines Trust.

John, who is survived by his wife Betty and their three children Lesley, Graeme and Adrienne, was also active on the Paekākāriki School committee, Paekākāriki Community Board, Paekākāriki Station Precinct Trust, and more.

And he received a civic award by the council for his service to the village during the Paekākāriki floods in early October 2003.

Ms Rowan said John had "left our community with a richness of an ever growing enhanced environment ... but most importantly a combination of a huge landmass that will afford future generations a real appreciation of this coastal landscape that they will play in and enjoy".