On Councillor Gary McPhees shock passing
Greater Wellington Regional Councillors and staff are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Wairarapa councillor Gary McPhee. Gary was elected as Wairarapa Ward councillor in 2010, after he had previously served two terms as the Mayor and a memorable sheriff of Carterton.
Gary was a larger than life figure and represented his Wairarapa constituents passionately around the council table. He did this by briefing himself on the issues, talking to locals and staff, and listening to discussion before offering his opinion. In spite of his struggle with illness he always delivered when it mattered.
His advice was practical, pragmatic and to the point, which was much respected by fellow councillors and staff. I knew him as a man of integrity and wisdom with a very shrewd ability to read people.
Gary took an intense interest in the regional councils work and was always keen to get his hands dirty and see how things worked.
He spent a lot of time with landowners and staff discussing how to keep Wairarapas rivers in check, hillsides from eroding and the mechanics of dealing with possums and the like.
He got stuck in at community planting days and was known to pick up the BBQ tongs and cook for everyone at Wairarapa staff functions.
As a keen motorcyclist, Gary got involved in regional transport issues and was a powerful advocate for sending logs from Wairarapa to Wellington by train to take the pressure off our roads.
His intensely loyal representation of Wairarapas people did not get in the way of working with his fellow councillors and he was often at the heart of finding a simple solution that suited everyone.
He was brave man and we will all miss him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends in this very difficult time.
Greater Wellington Regional Council
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