Hundreds farewell Hutt MP Trevor Young

Love match: The late MP Trevor Young, pictured in February this year when he and his wife Ailsa marked their Diamond wedding anniversary.
Love match: The late MP Trevor Young, pictured in February this year when he and his wife Ailsa marked their Diamond wedding anniversary.

Former MP Trevor Young was devoted to his community, country and God, mourners at his funeral on Wednesday were reminded.

Mr Young was an ''honourable and decent man and a man of integrity,'' Paul Swain, who succeeded him in the Eastern Hutt seat after his retirement, said.

Mr Young was an inspiration to him and ''a true servant of the people in every sense of the word''.

Former Western Hutt MP John Terris said Mr Young was never afraid to speak his mind and his forthright and Christian values probably cost him political advancement.

Politics was often about compromise but Mr Young was not a compromiser, Mr Terris said.

About 200 attended Mr Young's funeral on a bitterly cold afternoon last Wednesday.

Because of the expected turnout, Mr Young's funeral was held at his son Neville's church, Hope Centre, Lower Hutt, rather than Naenae Christian Church where he worshipped.

Naenae Christian Church Pastor Ralph Bradley, who officiated, said Mr Young had been a member of the Church of Christ for more than 60 years.

He died at the Shona McFarlane Retirement Village hospital unit, aged 86.

Mr Bradley publicly thanked the Shona McFarlane staff and those in the eastern wing of Hutt Hospital for their care of Mr Young over past weeks.

Mr Bradley said Mr Young was born in Turua (near Thames) in 1925 and grew up in Cambridge and Blenheim. He did his secondary schooling at Wellington College.

His family settled in Naenae and his first job was with the Public Trust.

He joined the Labour Party and at 22 as was asked three times to stand on its ticket for Lower Hutt City Council elections in 1947.

Eventually someone took him aside to say he was unlikely to be elected but the experience would make him better known in the community.

The reluctant candidate avoided campaigning but was elected. He was mentored in his new role by Mayor EthP Hay.

He combined work and unpaid local politics with law studies at Victoria University from which he graduated in 1958.

In 1952ntsTnte he married Ailsa AndersonntsTnte, whom he met through the church, and they spent their whole married life in Lower Hutt.  They celebrated 60 years of marriage in February.

Mr Young was a city councillor until 1968 when he was elected to Parliament in a by-election following the death of Hutt MP and former Prime Minister Sir Walter Nash.

The morning after the election a solo mother was on the Youngs' doorstep asking for help to find a house.

It was the beginning of a more intensive level of service to the Hutt Valley public.

Paul Swain, who succeeded Mr Young as MP for Eastern Hutt, spoke on behalf of several former and current Labour MPs.

He met Mr Young in 1985 and later thought about standing for Parliament.

He visited Mr Young because he wanted to talk about it face to face rather than the more usual behind a person's back.

Mr Young told him he was planning to retire and gave Mr Swain his blessing to seek selection.

Mr Swain won selection and was publicly endorsed by Mr Young.

At 80 Mr Young was still out delivering election leaflets and at the last election canvassed votes at the Shona McFarlane  complex for Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins.

Former Western Hutt MP John Terris said he was working in television and Mr Young was a lawyer when they met.

He remembered a panel lined up against Mr Young, an opponent of alcohol.

Mr Young acquitted himself well and was later a shoo-inntsTnte at the Hutt electorate by-election in 1968 following the death of Sir Walter Nash.

''He was loved by the people he represented.''

Mr Young had a special understanding of the process of law-making which he put to good use in Parliament.

MPs Fraser ColmanntsTnte, Bill JeffriesntsTnte, Mr Young and Mr Terris as the ''Hutt Valley Gang of Four'' found their constituents facing many challenges because of Labour Party-led economic changes in the 1980s.

But in local politics Mr Young helped shape Lower Hutt and in Parliament became a member of Norman Kirk's inner circle.

He placed constituents and his family before himself and had to endure personal attacks from lobby groups.

He maintained his integrity and was respected across party lines.

He was careful with money but generous with time.

''He was a tremendous mentor to me when I arrived in Parliament,'' Mr Terris said.

Mr Young had the gift of oratory and was very persuasive because he so strongly believed what he said.

Mr Young was MP for the Hutt seat from 1968 till 1978 when a rearrangement of the valley's seats created the Eastern Hutt seat which he held until retiring from politics in 1990. He was Labour's deputy chairman of committees from 1984 till 1990. He received a QSO for public services.

Son Gavin Young read a poem emphasising what matters most about a person's life is not the dates they were born or died but the ''dash'' in between.

He remembered growing up with a father quite literally dashing about to many meetings around the community.

There were many phone calls to the family home, and his father helped a lot of people during his 43 years of serving the public.

Son Neville Young said his earliest memories included the two boys being dubbed by their parents on the back of their bikes  before the family had a car.

They helped deliver election leaflets and he remembered standing with his father outside a shop that had the latest technology, a television, in the window.

He remembered the mayor and mayoress, Percy and Mary DowsentsTnte, visiting him in hospital after surgery for appendicitis at 11. He was impressed the mayor cared about his father, a city councillor, enough to visit his son in hospital.

Mrs Dowse died a couple of months later and Mr Young was one of the pallbearers.

Another memory was eating fish and chips with his father on the lawn outside Parliament.

Mr Young was also involved in the Temperance Alliance, a group which opposed alcohol.

However, his father's sense of humour went as far as once acting the part of a drunk ''staggering all over the place''.

Mr Young was proud of his father for being involved in so much.

His father had joined the Labour Party in the 1940s, a time of change, innovation and growth for New Zealand.

But he never held a grudge and welcomed everyone, including those of opposite political persuasions.

He was never a political animal and was ''most happy serving others and did that really well''.

Hutt News