Home' Greymouth Star : April 8th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 7
Pat McManus has held just three
jobs in his life: mechanic, business
owner and mayor. en, last
October, he quit everything "cold
e born and bred Westport
stalwart who achieved so much as mayor --- new
swimming pool, museum and information centre
and theatre, to name but a few --- feels the job just
was not quite for him.
He was born in the old Westport maternity
hospital, where the present Club Buller is now, he
says with a laugh.
He grew up on a farm at Birch eld, just north of
Westport, and only moved to 'town' when he was
16. His mother was a hospital super visor.
Pat trained rstly as a mechanic and worked
for Craddock's Transport, at a time when Bill
Craddock was mayor.
When his wife's parents both died young, Pat
took over the Rainbow Cake Kitchen, where he
had already started selling products Coastwide.
At one point the bakery employed more than 30.
Seven years ago, after the "whirlwind" one-term
mayoralty of Martin Sawyers, two-term councillor
Pat McManus stepped up to the plate.
When he won he celebrated his win with a
whisky with his dad. He was the sort of mayor
who donated his salary increases to the Mayoral
It was a fair step up from his previous public role
as chairman of Tourism West Coast. Interestingly,
former mayor Pat O'Dea encouraged him into
that role --- Pat McManus went on to beat Pat
O'Dea to the mayoralty.
e job was full-time, not to mention weekends,
attending events from Karamea to Reefton.
His council nished what Martin Sawyers had
started, called 'Vision 2010'. Flowers were planted
in Reefton and Westport, but it was about a lot
more than just beauti cation.
Although coal prices were booming, the council
looked beyond "black gold", moving the coal
museum into the Westport town centre.
Work began on the Reefton, Westport and
Punakaiki water supplies, and dump sites were
closed. And yes, Pat walks the walk --- he has his
own compost bin.
He only ever planned on standing for the
mayoralty two or three terms. Close to the end of
term two, the former heart bypass patient had a
recurrence of angina.
en eight or nine months ago, he slipped
on the wet lawn while picking up his morning
newspaper. It was some time before he realised his
leg was broken. More recently he has had a plate
and screws put in.
"I'd had enough. ere was also the change in
the rubbish collection coming up," Pat says.
He never really felt he was a politician in the
traditional sense. Pat would rather have a quiet
word with someone, than run roughshod over
them in public.
"If Martin had stayed, I probably would never
have stood for mayor."
So last October he quit everything. Garry
Howard became mayor and Pat --- his leg still in
plaster --- rested up.
He has plans to "potter around" the bakery
business, which is now owned by his son and
daughter-in-law, and he and wife Diane are o on
their rst holiday in four years.
He says he never did want to be the sort of
person who made up the numbers.
He left behind the controversy over the new
rubbish contract (Buller contractor Westreef lost
out), and focused instead on recuperating.
Yes, rates were higher but infrastructure had
been neglected for too long, he says.
ere is a lot to look back and smile about. He
remembers fondly raising $12.5 million with
consultant Steve Bramley, towards the Vision
Now, of course, Westport and much of the West
Coast have fallen on hard times.
e coal price came a-tumbling down, and
Bathurst Resources realised that, for now at
least, it is not worth starting full scale mining at
It is not good, but Pat has seen it all before and
knows it will reverse. at is the nature of mining.
"It happens in cycles," he says simply.
A Westport man through and through, he does
not see himself ever leaving --- tough times or not.
"I'm one of only seven McManuses left here."
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Pat McManus on a recent visit to Greymouth.
After two terms in the hotseat as Buller mayor, retired Westport baker Pat McManus decided it was time to step down. He
spoke to LAURA MILLS about "going cold turkey", and explains why he was never a true politician anyway.
Pat on the
Links Archive April 7th 2014 April 9th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page