Ian Wells farewelled in Wellington

GOODBYE: Pallbearers at the funeral of Ian Wells at Old St Pauls in Wellington.
GOODBYE: Pallbearers at the funeral of Ian Wells at Old St Pauls in Wellington.

A mighty Wellingtonian and all-round good bloke Ian Wells was farewelled by hundreds at a celebration of his life today.

Wells, the man behind the Absolutely Positively Wellington brand and the push to bring the Wellington Phoenix to town, died on Saturday after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's three years ago.

More than 400 people packed out Old St Paul's Cathedral today to send off the 76-year-old, including family, long-time friends and well-known Wellingtonians from sporting, political and creative industries.


Wells was described as a great lover of sport, wine and people and a man who lived life to its fullest.

He was head of New Zealand Tennis, chairman of Cricket Wellington and a former general manager of The Dominion Post.

Long-time friend Ian Christison recounted a few fond memories from their 60-year friendship, which included playing lunchtime badminton on the Opera House stage, watching Peter Snell break the world mile record together and witnessing him throw a cabbage at a Labour candidate.

''I've lost a good mate, an old mate and as it turns out a good old bastard,'' said Christison.

Wells' son Jason said, via a tribute read by a friend, that his father had taught him many things, including how to turn ideas into action, how to look after those you love, how to fight for what you believe in, and that wine was never to be wasted.

''I'll always try to be like Dad, but even if I get halfway there I'll be a pretty good bloke,'' he said.

His wife Joan said in a tribute read by celebrant John McBeth that although she had only had few short years with her ''amazing, beautiful husband'' it was better than having none at all.

She made special mention of staff at Vista Cafe, where  Wells lunched most days for the past few years, and who always made sure he got home safely.

The Dominion Post