Fighter with a winning record
Speculation is rife that Tony Reid will challenge Alan Dick for the Napier Mayoralty. Mike Tod looks at the background of Napier’s highest polling candidate and what drives him.
Tony Reid is used to fighting.
He has had his fair share of battles, whether they be in the school boxing ring, establishing a business, overcoming cancer or debating in the council chamber.
He has a reputation for being a people person and sticking to what he believes in.
Mr Reid has a background, temperament and compassion that wife Lesley says has made him a leader.
Her sentiments are those most men probably hope their wife would make. But it is the manner in which they are delivered and the reasons for them that make them special.
The couple came close to being eternally apart only two years ago. They discovered each other’s inner strengths when Mr Reid was diagnosed with cancer in October 1993.
The successful treatment that followed was an experience they will never forget. Over the period of six months, Mr Reid was required to make six trips to Palmerston North hospital for week-long therapy sessions.
Mrs Reid was by his bedside daily.
“I found that support enormous. I don’t think I would have gone back the last time if it hadn’t been for her support. It was a dreadful experience. However all that is behind us. I had a full clearance and the future looks very positive indeed.”
Mr Reid said the support his wife had given him in periods of highs and lows was enormous.
“I think the feeling that she displays is enormously comforting.”
Mrs Reid said her husband’s struggle against cancer, his involvement with Napier Jaycees, the way he ran Tony Reid Service Station and being a marvellous parent had left her in no doubt he could lead in exemplary fashion anything he wanted.
Taking on leadership roles has been a way of life since coming to Hawke’s Bay in 1966 after leaving Caltex in Wellington. He joined Jaycees the year he arrived and played a key role in the organisation for the next two decades.
Jaycees opened a lot of doors that would have been otherwise closed in the conservative Napier of the 1960s and 1970s.
Mr Reid was a driving force behind the Christian Barnard (the surgeon who performed the first heart transplant) dinner at Centennial Hall which raised $10,000 for the purchase of cardiac equipment at Napier hospital.
The following year he was elected president of the Napier Jaycees and embarked upon the Princess Alexandra hospital project, becoming a foundation trustee. In 1980, he was editor of the Jaycees chapter publication which was named the best magazine in the country.
While with the organisation, he excelled in debating and oratory to become a finalist in national competitions.
His leadership abilities have also spilled over into the sports arena. He is a past-president of the Marewa Bowling Club and during his term an extensive expansion programme was undertaken and Hawke’s Bay’s first automatic sprinkling systems introduced.