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Source: Auckland Council

Mayor Phil Goff, Councillors and council staff today acknowledged the contribution that Sir John Walker has made to public office in Auckland as the Manurewa-Papakura Ward councillor steps down.

Sir John took the podium today to make his valedictory speech, supported by daughter Caitlin, and reflected on some of the highlights of his political career.

Sir John became one of four councillors for Manukau City Council’s Manurewa Ward in 1998 and has served three terms representing Manurewa-Papakura on the Auckland Council.

“After retiring from athletics, a friend suggested I put my name forward for the position of one of the four councillors for the Manurewa Ward.

“It was a fitting move for me. I was raised in Manurewa and it seemed a perfect way for me to repay my hometown for the love and support I had received as a child and then during my long running career,” he said.

Mayor Phil Goff acknowledged Sir John’s work leading the John Walker ‘Find Your Field of Dreams’ Foundation.

“I know Sir John is most proud of being the founding chair of the Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation which was founded 11 years ago and is still going strong.

“In 2017 it marked one million free swimming lessons for young Aucklanders that might never have been able to learn to swim otherwise,” he said.

Sir John said he will always be grateful to former Mayor Len Brown for encouraging the creation of the charity in his name.

“It is growing from strength to strength since its inception more than 10 years ago and it makes me very proud.

“I have enjoyed my years as a councillor and I feel proud of the work that has been achieved and decisions made in my time.

“We have a very beautiful and sophisticated city and there are exciting times ahead.

“The last years have been difficult for me and I would like to thank my fellow councillors and staff for their compassion and understanding.

“To the councillors who have helped me out of my chair and brought me tea and coffee, thank you. A special mention here to Paul Young for being so kind and thoughtful,” he said.

Sir John’s family have supported him in his council role and his children were often seen alongside him in the council chamber.

“To my wife Helen and to my family and especially my son Tim, who has been my chauffeur, bodyguard and confidante, thank you for your love and support.

“Goodbye everyone and good health.”

Mayoral donation to Foundation

Mayor Phil Goff today thanked retiring Councillor Sir John Walker for his service to the city and people of Auckland and announced that the city has gifted a donation to Sir John’s foundation.

The Mayoral Office will be donating $5,000 to the John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation.

“It has been a privilege to work alongside Sir John for the last three years. His service to his communities and the people of Auckland will be long remembered,” said Mayor Goff.

“Sir John has long been an inspiration for generations of New Zealanders, but particularly the people of Manurewa and South Auckland.

“This donation recognises the inspiration he has been, and the decades of work he has put into bettering the lives of young people through sports and recreation,” said Mayor Goff.

MIL OSI New Zealand News