Memorial seat for Paekakariki’s “J.P”

Memorial seat for Paekakariki’s “J.P”

The Kapiti US Marines Trust is fundraising to buy a memorial seat to honour Paekakariki figure John Porter. Photo: Supplied.

The Kapiti US Marines Trust is fundraising $3,000 to buy a memorial seat to honour prominent Paekakariki figure John Porter.

The memorial seat was listed on Givealittle in 2013 but has resurfaced after Porter recently passed away, aged 86.

Porter or J.P, as he was known, made a significant contribution to the Paekakariki community over the last 70 years Most notably, he faced the campaign to save Whareroa farm and keep the land in public ownership and campaigned against plans to establish motor racing in Queen Elizabeth Park.

He gave over 60 years service to the Paekakariki Surf Lifesaving Club, was on the Paekakariki School board; was deputy chair of the Paekakariki Community Board; a former chair of the Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park; a trustee of the Whareroa Guardians and a trustee and founding member of the Kapiti US Marines Trust. He also wrote for

The seat will be placed in the shelter of a grove of trees at the US Marines Memorial site, off Whareroa Road in Queen Elizabeth Park.

John Porter (left), current US Marine and Joan Ellis (right) inside the newly restored US Marines Hutt on Memorial Day, 2017.

Executive trustee Allie Webber said the site was chosen so “he can see over the stuff we’re doing in the park and he can also look over into a really nice wetland, which was developed over 30 years ago.”

She said Porter was a member of the trust right up until when he died. “Which is why we initiated the idea of getting the seat. There were many groups in Paekakariki that rated John Porter. He was a beloved son of the village.”

She said he was 11 years old when the marines came into his village. “He remained very very interested in that story all his life and wrote about it and talked about it.”

Former trust chair and former Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan said he was a good man, a superb guardian for Paekakariki and always had its best interests at heart.

She said Porter told stories of playing in Queen Elizabeth Park while the Marines practised war games, sometimes while live ammunition flew over his and others’ heads. “His recall from those childhood memories was clear, you could see him in the moment and that lead to him becoming a serious archivist in his later life.

“John’s legacy is huge, his willingness to work collaboratively share his knowledge and attend the numerous meetings to ensure the facts where on the table has left our community with the richness of an ever growing enhanced environment, a recreational space, for walkers, horse rider and mountain bikers, but most importantly a combination of a huge land mass that will afford future generations a real appreciation of this coastal landscape that they will play in and enjoy.”

She said he would be remembered for his openness, friendship, inclusiveness and kindness. “John’s honesty, goodwill and integrity allowed him to meet disagreement with patience and good humour, his research for the truth, now leaves us standing on good rocks.”

Kapiti US Marines Trust deputy chair, Anthony Dreaver said “John had a unique gift for observation and story-telling and his willingness to share everyday history had kept the ethos of Paekakariki alive for hundreds who were willing to listen.”

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Article by Rachel Moore

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Article by Rachel Moore

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