Bing Lucas a Tawa stalwart

TALIA CARLISLE
Last updated 13:51 14/12/2013

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The Wellingtonian

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Bing Lucas Dr, one of Tawa's newest roads, was completed in 2007 to connect Woodman Dr to State Highway 1 via Takapu Rd.

The initial part of Bing Lucas Drive was completed well before it was finally connected to Woodman Dr.

The linking section of road was owned by a private developer and left unsealed for several years.

Former Tawa Community Board chairman and Wellington City councillor Malcolm Sparrow said the "link saga" went on for all too long.

"It was in the hands of a private developer who perhaps was in no particular rush to complete it," Mr Sparrow said.

Even after the road was completed, there were still complications about the use of the road, he said.

The two-kilometre road, replete with speed bumps, runs from Takapu Rd up to the water tank near Belmont Regional Park.

Many wealthy residents live in the street - the highest valued property is worth $1.75 million.

Many of the properties include large sections of land used for sheep and alpaca farming.

Bing Lucas Dr was named after Tawa conservationist Percy Lucas.

He was nicknamed Bing while working as a radio DJ in the 1940s because of his love of Bing Crosby songs.

Mr Lucas moved from Christchurch to Tawa with his wife Joyce in 1952.

That year he became a foundation member of Tawa Linden Baptist Church.

He was also involved in politics. Mr Lucas was a member of the Tawa Borough Council and was the council's representative on the Tawa College board of governors.

His son, Murray, became Tawa College's principal in 2002.

Mr Lucas was a keen cricket and soccer fan and also loved stage musicals.

He wrote most of the lyrics for a Tawa-made rock musical called Saultalk, based on the life of St Paul. It was performed in major centres between Hamilton and Christchurch from 1974 till 1977.

Mr Lucas was the creator of New Zealand's national parks and reserves system, acknowledged by many as the finest in the world.

He was the first director of national parks and reserves in 1969 and later became the director-general of the Lands and Survey Department.

During his work he strongly opposed the idea that people should pay to enter a national park.

He also caused a stir during the Manapouri controversy by opposing the Government's plan to raise the lake level.

From 1976 till 1986 he was chairman of the New Zealand Walkways Commission, which established tracks including the Queen Charlotte Walkway above the Marlborough Sounds.

In 2000, while walking this track with his family, he died of a heart attack in a spot overlooking an area called Tawa Bay.

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- The Wellingtonian

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