Sir Bob Parker
Sir Bob Parker's father has passed away today, just hours
after his son, the former Christchurch mayor, was awarded a
Robert Parker Snr, 86, had been gravely ill with cancer in a
Christchurch hospice for some time.
He passed away around noon today. He is survived by his wife
Earlier today, Sir Bob said his knighthood had come at a
special and difficult time, as he farewelled his father.
It was particularly humbling to reveal the news to his dad,
"My dad is at the end of his journey, so for him it has been
something very special," Sir Bob said.
"As a son, to be able to give this to my dad at the end of
his life - it's way beyond words to describe the sense of
humility and the feeling of pride to tell him this has
happened, and to see that it meant so much to him."
Sir Bob said he never expected the honour, which he views as
a tribute to those he worked alongside, particularly in the
aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes.
"It's a tribute to council staff who ran Civil Defence and
the infrastructure work we did, it's for Usar [Urban Search
and Rescue], defence forces, emergency services, volunteers
and the whole community."
His 22 years in local government, including two terms as
Mayor of Banks Peninsula and two terms as Christchurch Mayor,
had many memorable moments.
None were more defining than the devastating Canterbury
earthquakes, and his role as the public face of the disaster
response. "It was a traumatic and difficult and testing time,
and still is for many people," Sir Bob said.
"To be in that position that I was in and have the
opportunity to see so much generosity and so much courage in
the midst of so much pain was a unique experience and
something that will always be part of us - all of us who went
Sir Bob did not run for re-election in this year's local body
He was proud of his mayoralty, and said that given the scale
of the "unprecedented disaster", some controversies were
"But we've left the city in a solid state in terms of its
ability to meet the needs of its community in the future."
Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel today congratulated Sir
Bob, saying that his New Year Honour will be well-received by
the city as a whole.
"Sir Bob's performance after the first earthquake in
particular, something we were not really prepared for, will
always stand out in my mind as going beyond the call of
duty," she said.
"His authoritative voice offering reliable information,
delivered in such a reassuring manner at our time of need, is
what people will always remember.
"That's precisely what people needed at the time and he
delivered all of that and more," Mayor Dalziel said.
Since stepping down, Sir Bob said, he had taken a long
holiday with his wife, Lady Joanna Nicholls-Parker.
"We were a team supporting each other and I'm really thrilled
that Joanna, by virtue of this honour, gets to share in it a
bit as well."
Before entering local government, Sir Bob had a successful