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Young politician killed by train

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 14:07 14/09/2012
Kieran Gallagher-Power
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LOST: Kieran Patrick Gallagher-Power, 25, was killed in September after he was struck by a train in Wairarapa.

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A former Christchurch mayoral candidate died after he was hit by a passenger train in Masterton last week.

Kieran Patrick Gallagher-Power, 25, was struck near the Solway railway crossing about 10.40am last Wednesday.

His funeral was held in Christchurch on Monday.

Police have investigated the incident and the death has been referred to the coroner.

Senior Sergeant Carolyn Watson said the driver of the train tried to brake but it was too late.

"It was pretty horrific for the train driver and the police involved in recovering Kieran's body," she said.

Kathleen Gallagher said her son had been in the Wairarapa taking part in a Christian retreat and planned to attend the Argentina-New Zealand rugby test before returning to Christchurch.

He was a gentle, spiritual and holistic person and had been considering becoming a member of the Marist community, she said.

When she was notified by police that his day pack had been found next to the "unrecognisable" body she held out hope that it was not her son, and that his bag had been stolen.

The last time Gallagher spoke to her son was last Monday on her birthday when he had called to wish her happy birthday.

She said he was in "great spirits" after the retreat.

He was an active member of the Green Party, which he joined when he started at Canterbury University.

The former Cashmere High School pupil ran for the Christchurch mayoralty in 2010.

Green Party member Claire Waghorn described him as a "people person" who everyone could relate to and who always had a "massive smile" on his face.

She said he was passionate about the environment, social issues and nuclear disarmament.

He was a member of Catholic Worker Ploughshares community, Peace Movement Aotearoa and Edmond Rights Fellowship.

"It wasn't because he wanted the attention. It wasn't a power thing for Kieran. It was that he felt these people weren't bringing up the right issues. He could see the injustices of the world and wanted to fix them," she said.

Waghorn said he had a way of putting everyone at ease.

She said this was evident at a Green Party conference in 2009 during the contention for the final co-leadership position between Metiria Turei, Sue Bradford and Jeanette Fitzsimons and there was tension in the room.

"Kieran picked up his guitar and started singing. It changed the whole vibe of the place. That was his way of contributing," she said

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He was often not far from his guitar and was a keen hiker.

- The Press

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