City farewells committed councillor
ANTHONY JOHN REID (TONY)
July 5 1939-August 31, 2007
Long-serving Napier city councillor Tony Reid, who died last Friday, was farewelled yesterday, a stone’s throw from the ﬁrst signs of one his last successes at the council table.
As his casket lay in the War Memorial Centre overlooking Hawke’s Bay towards Cape Kidnappers in the fog and rain, Mayor Barbara Arnott pointed out to about 300 funeral-goers the pohutukawa planted alongside the pathway outside on the Marine Parade foreshore.
They were Mr Reid’s idea, she reaffirmed, and told how over the next four years Napier would See the completion of a planting programme by which it could remember a man who had devoted much of his life to the city since he ﬁrst arrived from Wellington 41 years ago.
And former Napier lawyer Judge Nevin Lawson, a friend since they were kindred spirits in the Napier chapter of service organisation Jaycees International in the 1960s, revealed how in a recent visit to the ailing councillor, Mr Reid put his own slant on the councillors’ agreement.
Mr Reid told him: “I’ve had a little victory on the city council.”
A big victory, all things considered, for Mr Reid, 68, was also fighting a major battle, which, sadly, he was not going to win.
In a message read by son-in-law Chris Drayton, wife Lesley said it was in April he learned he had lung cancer, and in a rare moment of confusion he wondered why he had to “face the bullet – again”.
While he never hid the fact, he had in his first term on council, from 1992 to 1995, faced his ﬁrst battle against cancer, and won.
He was able to wage a mayoral campaign in 1995, when he did not seek re-election to the council; and a year later had a landslide by-election triumph to return to the council on which he remained for the next 11 years until his death.
Mrs Arnott, herself first elected to council in 1995, said Mr Reid made his mark as Hearings Committee chairman over the past six years, listening to hundreds of ratepayers in the formulation of a district plan which would be his legacy. He had previous experience chairing the Services Committee, and the McLean Park and Marineland working parties.
It was just one area of his commitment to the city, for which he laid the foundations when he established Tony Reid Service Station and in the then visibly proactive work of service organisation Jaycee International.
He was foremost in bringing South African heart transplant pioneer Christian Barnard to Napier, and then Princess Alexandra who, so the story goes, accepted, to the embarrassment of a gazumped Government which then also issued an invitation for a Royal Tour, to make it all official.
It was part of his commitment to health services, including the establishment of Princess Alexandra Hospital, of which he was a foundation trustee.
In more recent years, he played a key role in establishing the Pettigrew Green Arena at Taradale.
His bowls, rugby and racing interests all came into play, as did his commitment to his wife, and children Lucy, Timothy, Megan, and Michael and his seven grandchildren. Mr Reid met Lesley when she worked at the BNZ, where he did his business banking, and they married on August 8, 1981. Despite his many interests, he regularly did duty with the Napier Operatic Society in which his wife was so involved.
It was all done with Mr Reid’s own particular social flair which, some said, helped keep the smile on the face.
Photo caption – LEFT: As the rain continued outside, long-serving Napier city councillor Tony Reid, (above) who died on Friday, was carried from the War Memorial Centre on Napier’s Marine Parade yesterday. The funeral procession drove past the site of Mr Reid’s former service station in Kennedy Road.