A funeral was held at the weekend for Flaxmere community leader and former longtime freezing worker Larry Leslie Allan Papanui Jessup.

A former general election and local elections candidate, he had lived with wife Kellie in Flaxmere for more than 30 years — ''as long as I can recall'', district councillor Henare O'Keefe said.

Mr O'Keefe worked with Jessup at the Tomoana freezing works for up to 20 years before the plant's closure in 1994.

Jessup was regarded as a man who had done it all, leading to his elevation as ''Mr May'' in the 2017 Flaxmere Heroes Calendar.


He was particularly prominent in softball, including coaching, and after leaving the works became involved in the education sector and worked at Te Kupenga A te Huki Kohanga Reo.
He said at the time of his inclusion in the calendar his love for Flaxmere stemmed from the people in the community.

''It is a hard road out there for some but everyone has dreams and if people fulfil their dreams then that is progress.

''The people make it an amazing place to live and grow,'' he said.

''Ninety per cent go to kura, that is the beauty of it. If whanau go to schools then more people will keep going.''

When his inclusion was announced, 15 people in the crowd performed a haka to show him respect and gratitude.

The tangi was held at Mihiroa Marae, Pakipaki.