John Porter

US Marines in New Zealand

Haere Ra – John Porter – Community Champion

John Newton Porter, a foundation member of the Kāpiti US Marines Trust died in Paraparaumu on March 19, after a long illness. He was 86.

John Porter or “J.P.”, as he was known, was a third-generation Paekākāriki resident who had vivid and colourful school-boy memories of the US Marines encamped in and around “the village”. His knowledge of history and passion for preserving and re-telling the Marines’ story has informed much of the Trust’s work.

John was highly regard by all the organisations he served and was respected for his hard work, integrity, depth of local knowledge, willingness to share information and courage to take a stand on issues of importance in the community.

He had a significant leadership role in many organisations including: the Paekākāriki Surf Lifesaving Committee and in Surf Lifesaving New Zealand. He was on the Paekākāriki School Committee, a member of the Paekākāriki Community Board, the Guardians of Whareroa Farm, the Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park and the Kāpiti U.S.Marines Trust.

Former Editor of the Paekākāriki Xpressed, Don Polly said John Porter was an invaluable member of the community. “He knew the culture of the village; the relationships between the community and its local government and the history of issues, some going back generations. He recognised the contribution of the hundreds of community organisations some formal and some not, and could accurately recount who did what, when and why.”

KUSMT Chair, Richard Benge said John Porter was regarded with esteem and affection by fellow trustees – he would be sadly missed. John Porter

KUSMT Deputy Chair, Anthony Dreaver said: “John had a unique gift for observation and story-telling and his willingness to share every day history had kept the ethos of Paekākāriki alive for hundreds who were willing to listen.”

US Marines in New Zealand

Former Trust Chair Jenny Rowan said John was “a superb guardian for Paekākāriki and always had our best interests at heart.” He was presented with a Civic Award by the Kāpiti Coast District Council for his services to the Village during the Paekākāriki Floods.

Dr Ann Evans said John’s contribution to Whareroa Farm was very significant. Without his efforts, the farm would probably not exist.

Former Secretary to the Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park, Denise Davis said John Porter had a lengthy involvement in the affairs of the park and was always prepared to stand-up and challenge people on the issues of the day. He was a fantastic advocate for the human and natural history in the park.”

John Porter Memorial seat

Thanks to the generosity of 21 on-line donors and others, we have now closed our appeal for the John Porter Memorial seat - having raised a total of $1996.55.

The seat is now installed in the shelter of a grove of trees at US Marines Memorial site, off Whareroa Road in Queen Elizabeth Park, looking out through the US Marines Memorial to Whareroa Farm.

US Marines in New Zealand

The Trust is grateful to those who donated to the project, seat suppliers Big Mac Slabs Furniture and the GWRC park staff who did the installation.

Deputy Chair of the Kāpiti US Marines Trust, Anthony Dreaver says there was real goodwill surrounding the project and the $487 remaining in the ‘seat fund’ will be spent on a story-board out-lining John’s 70-year contribution to Kāpiti and its environment.

John has made a significant contribution to the Paekākāriki community over the past 70 years. Most notably, he spear-headed the campaign to save Whareroa Farm and keep the land in public ownership; he also campaigned against moves to establish motor-racing in Queen Elizabeth Park.

He gave over 60 years’ service to the Paekākāriki Surf Lifesaving Club and Surf Lifesaving New Zealand; served on the Paekākāriki School Board, was Deputy Chair of the Paekākāriki Community Board, a former Chair of the Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park, a Trustee of the Whareroa Guardians and a Trustee of the Kāpiti US Marines Trust.

John Porter spent much of his life helping the community stay in touch with the past and make good decisions about the future.

Related Pages

John's memories of the Marines:


Video Story telling