Sir Michael Fowler: architect, politician; b December 19, 1929; d, July 12, 2022.
A charming visionary who transformed Wellington, or a vandal who destroyed a significant chunk of Wellington’s heritage architecture with a cavalier approach to financial accountability.
Sir Michael Fowler, the mayor of Wellington from 1974 to 1983, has died aged 92, with Covid-19. Nearly 50 years after he first took office, it is hard to accurately define his legacy.
His name is forever linked with the city, thanks to the Michael Fowler Centre, and a strong case can be made that he was the most influential mayor the capital has had over the past 100 years.
He was the most substantive Mayor of my lifetime. He defeated six term incumbent Mayor Frank Kitts in 1974 by 367 votes. Kitts had won by a massive 10,000 votes in 1971 and was seen as unbeatable by many.
Fowler beat Kitts again in 1977 by 3,000 votes and won easily in 1980.
He showed the difference one person could make to a city.