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Council announces death of Mercury Bay Community Board Chairman Paul Kelly

12 March 2019

Thames-Coromandel District Council has issued the following statement today about the death of Mercury Bay Community Board Chairman Paul Kelly.

It’s with great sadness our Council has learned that Mercury Bay Community Board Chairman Paul Kelly has passed away today in Whitianga, aged 75.

Paul (pictured) was a long-serving member of the Mercury Bay Community Board, having been appointed as Chairman at the Board’s first meeting on 5 November 2013.  Paul was also the co-chair of the Mercury Bay 250 Trust, established to help develop lasting legacies commemorating the significance of Mercury Bay in the upcoming 250th anniversary since Captain James Cook came to New Zealand (Tuia - Encounters250).

Paul was an active member of the Matarangi community, serving as a member of the Matarangi Ratepayers Association and a Justice of the Peace, before moving to Whitianga last year. He also supported many charitable, educational and sports interests through the greater Mercury Bay area.

Before moving to Matarangi, Paul was employed by Air NZ for 37 years, retiring as a management pilot and B747 flight instructor.  He then went on to own and operate Kelly’s Hire and Hardware in Matarangi, where he built and developed the bulk of the local shopping centre.

Our Mayor Sandra Goudie said Paul Kelly was a well-respected member of the Council family, who served his community with great commitment.

“On behalf of Councillors, members of the Mercury Bay Community Board and Council staff, we extend our deepest sympathies to Paul’s family,” Mayor Sandra said.

“He was a big man with a big heart. Paul brought communities together and wasn’t afraid to front the community on any Council or community issue,” Mayor Sandra said.

“Paul was a man of great integrity, and he will be sorely missed by all of us.”

Mercury Bay Councillors Tony Fox and Murray McLean have paid tribute to their colleague and friend:

"Paul had a driving ambition to nurture the relationship between our local iwi (Ngati Hei) and our wider community, hence his involvement in the Tuia commemorations,"  Tony Fox said. "Paul was a huge supporter and believer of community empowerment. He was an extremely genuine person."

Murray McLean said Paul was an inclusive character.

"He was instrumental in building community participation around the Mercury Bay, from Whangapoua and Matarangi through to Cooks Beach and Hahei. He always had the community at heart,"  Murray said.

More information about  a funeral service for Paul will be shared when it’s available.