Memorial seat also about celebrating life

The brightly coloured seat near the Raglan jetty may be a memorial but it is also about celebrating life, says Raglan Ward councillor Lisa Thomson.

The seat celebrates the life of Richard Keremeta, who died tragically in February last year after bombing off the Raglan footbridge, and was completed last week.

Lisa, who helped co-ordinate the project with Sean Ellison in collaboration with Richard’s family and friends, says it’s a place where those who knew him can hang out but it’s also a place where the community and visitors can sit and enjoy the beauty of Raglan.

“You sit there and look out over the water, the bridge, the skate park …”

Builder Paul Christie, who donated his time and materials to the project, made the seat to be “durable, practical and long-lasting”.

“Paul made it so it would be durable regardless of how the kids used it,” says Lisa, even if that meant riding their bikes on it.

It’s more than just a seat – it’s a place where kids can hang their towels or bags while they are swimming and jumping off the jetty.

Lisa says Krishna Smith and Dallas Mihinui designed and organised the painting of the seat, again in collaboration with Richard’s friends and family.

“It had to be fun and about nature.”

She says the designs represent strength and agility and incorporates the water, the land and the sun.

“We went quite bright on the outside and more subtle in the inside where Richard’s name (Riha) is.

“It was a neat process,” she says of the entire project, which also got funding from Raglan Lions.

“It was a lot like the tide – people came and people went as it was being built, either helping out or just having a nosy.”

Inger Vos