Our Opinion – Remembering Martin Emery

Last week I was sad to hear that one of Ōrewa’s most staunch residents, Martin Emery, died. His wife, Jeanne, said he died peacefully overnight on May 9.

I hadn’t heard from Martin for a few years, but at one time he was an almost daily presence in the Hibiscus Matters office, keeping me updated on progress as Ōrewa Residents and Ratepayers, of which he was a member, took Council and developers Ōrewa Land all the way to the Environment Court.

The Residents and Ratepayers were fighting the former Rodney District Council’s proposed changes (known as Variation 101) to its District Plan, which would have allowed buildings of 30m to be built on large sites along Ōrewa’s beachfront, south of the town centre.

After a judge ruled in favour of the ratepayers, Auckland Council appealed. And, in 2011, the Environment Court again decided in favour of Ōrewa Residents & Ratepayers.

Fighting to prevent what the ratepayers group saw as ‘the Gold Coast approach’ to development in Ōrewa was a long, drawn out and expensive process.

In the thick of it was Martin, who always had a cool head, a gentle sense of humour and the facts at his fingertips.

The Ōrewa community has lost a clever, quiet achiever who worked tirelessly for what he believed was best for the place he loved.