RIP Sir James Belich

The Dom Post reports:

Former Wellington mayor Sir has died at the age of 88.

He was surrounded by family when he died on Sunday night after a short battle with Alzheimer’s.

“He died at home,” son-in-law, Colin Feslier said. “Shortly before his death he managed one of his last sentences, ‘I think I have had a good life’.”

Belich won the Wellington mayoralty in 1986 on the back of a campaign to end the practice of discharging raw sewage into the sea along the south coast.He brought a Labour majority with him on to council, which was a first for the capital city.

He held on to the mayoral chains until 1992, steering Wellington through a period of recession by encouraging investment in public works such as an extension to the Kilbirnie pool and the development of Civic Square. …

Belich was born in Awanui, Northland, to immigrants from the Dalmatian island of Korcula, off the coast of Croatia.

He studied at Otahuhu College, where he became head boy, before attending both Auckland University and Victoria University.

He spent a decade doing consular work in Auckland and Sydney, and forged a successful career in advertising before becoming mayor.

Belich was also an active member of the United Nations Association and was the founding president of Unicef New Zealand.

Belich was the third Wellington Mayor I recall – after Sir Michael Fowler and Ian Lawrence. Condolences to his family and friends.