20 February 2020
Rotorua Lakes Council staff and elected members extend their deepest condolences to the whanau of former long-time district councillor Charles Sturt who has passed away following a battle with cancer.
He was involved in local politics for more than 30 years, retiring prior to the 2019 elections for health reasons.
Mr Sturt was first elected as a Ngongotaha County Borough Council member in 1982 and became a district councillor in 1989.
From Mayor Steve Chadwick on behalf of our organisation and elected members:
Charles will be sadly missed by many in our community. He was very well known in not just his beloved Ngongotaha but also throughout our wider rohe in his various roles, including as a long-time councillor, as a businessman and as a real estate agent, and through his various passions and interests including rugby and racing but extending to all sports and local sportspeople.
Charles was a fighter for Rotorua. He cared deeply about this district and its people and about contributing towards a positive future for Rotorua.
He served on many of the council’s hapu MOU committees, Kauae Cemetery and reserves committees and through that developed some very rich relationships with Te Arawa. He was very proud of and committed to Council’s partnership with Te Arawa.
While he was a tough man, he was also very tender at heart and above all he was a loving family man, devoted to his wife Denise and extremely proud of his children and mokopuna. I know that spending time with them was his greatest joy after his retirement as an elected member.
He took a lot of pride in the various roles he held at Council and believed in and was very loyal to our Vision 2030 kaupapa – and that’s because he believed in Rotorua.
As a local politician he loved a bit of verbal biffo and wasn’t afraid of it – he was definitely not PC but had a very deep knowledge of politics, both central and local, and there was nothing naïve about him.
Even through his illness he continued on as a councillor, often obviously battling through extreme pain but fiercely determined to serve his beloved Rotorua for as long as he possibly could.
He was absolutely passionate, almost to a fault, about Ngongotaha – he loved his “Ngongy” and the people and iwi of Ngongotaha.
He was also totally one-eyed about rugby and was impossible to be with at rugby games so I learned to steer clear of he and his mate Trevor Maxwell at rugby games. Charles also loved racing and was a loyal member of the NZ First party, maintaining great links there but actually he was just a great fan of anything sports-related and was always extremely proud about local sporting successes.
I spent time with him the day he came out of hospital and was placed into Hospice care at home and he was in fine form that day, surrounded by three of his greatest loves – family, flowers from his garden and the racing channel.
Aaio ana te rangi aaio ana te whenua
Peace in the skies, peace to the land
Kua mū to reo, kua ea te mamae
Your voice has been silenced, your pain disappeared
Aaio ana ngā mea katoa
Peace to all things
Kai Ngongotahā tongākau, kai Rotorua te aronga o to mahi
Your heart lies in Ngongotahā, Rotorua the centre of your focus
Ko Tatau Tatau tō hiahia
Tatau Tatau was your passion
Aaio ana to moe
Peace to you as you sleep