The public memorial service for former Tauranga City Council chief executive officer Ken Paterson is being held at Baycourt this Friday afternoon.
Ken, aged 61, died in his sleep on June 18. He is survived by his wife Melanie and their children three-year-old Finley, and seven month old twins Mackenzie and Elliott.
Former Tauranga City Council CEO Ken Paterson with his family.
The public service beginning at 3pm will be about 45 minutes and will have a number of speakers including family, tangata whenua and staff representatives and Mayor Stuart Crosby.
There will also be bagpipes to honour Ken’s Scottish heritage.
The service is open to staff and anyone in the community who would like to pay their respects to Ken and to acknowledge the contribution he made to Tauranga City Council and the city.
Invitations have been sent to organisations and people from around the region who worked with Ken, including people who knew in the private sector in Taupo and with the Northern District Council.
A civil engineer by profession, Ken held several senior management positions in construction and utility companies around the United Kingdom and Europe.
Migrating to New Zealand in the late 1990s Ken began working for Contact Energy as generation manager for the Geothermal Group, based in Taupo.
In 2001 he moved to Auckland to become the CEO of Techscape Limited, an infrastructure works and maintenance joint venture between Waitakere and North Shore City Councils.
In 2006 he moved to Whangarei to take up the position of CEO at Northland Regional Council and in 2011 he moved to Tauranga to lead the Tauranga City Council.
“Since his passing in June I have had contact with many people who have worked with Ken and there are several themes which have emerged,” says his brother in law Malcolm Johns.
“Being an engineer, Ken was a very solutions focused thinker. He had an acute understanding for the difference between ‘fixing an issue’ and ‘solving the problem’.
“Ken was a problem solver by nature and often challenged others to understand the difference between fixing an issue and solving a problem.
“His career is marked by several examples of strong and courageous leadership around organisational and cultural change management.
“He was a very loyal person, however loyalty was a two way street. He was always very focused on creating ‘can do’ cultures and building team and self-confidence in those around him.
“He wasn’t somebody naturally attracted to negativity and always greeted people with a broad smile and an out stretched hand. He preferred to focus on what could be done rather than what couldn’t and he especially enjoyed watching others be successful.
“At a personal level, as a member of our family Ken was very welcoming, warm, friendly, positive and caring. He always wore a broad smile, loved to have fun, was always keen to talk about positive things, but would talk about Scottish rugby if pushed!
“As a father he was dedicated, tireless and exceptionally proud of all of his children and he loved them to bits. As a husband he was caring, strong, very giving of himself and very much loved.
“He was one of life’s good buggers and we will miss him.”
On May 5, Ken was taken to Tauranga Hospital after experiencing chest pains. He was released three days later after undergoing tests.
A Scottish engineer, Ken has been in New Zealand 20 years. It was his mixed private/public background that made Ken an attractive employment proposition for Tauranga City Council.
He was hired in April 2011 by a council looking to restructure. The wreck of the Rena delayed things, but the restructuring process has been recently getting back on track.
At the first full council meeting following Ken’s sudden death on June 26, Mayor Stuart Crosby asked councillors to reflect on the reason they hired Ken.
“I just want to reflect on the reason why we engaged ken in the first instance, and it was because we are seeking change in this organisation and a leadership that can reset this organisation for the current and future environment that we find ourselves in.
“It’s been said before our chief executive had an amazing passion and energy for the work and with that passion and energy came public sector experience as well as the private sector experience - and that’s what we got for nearly nine months.
“I travelled a little bit with Ken; Wellington, Auckland, Taupo, Whakatane, and I learned pretty quickly that he was highly regarded in both the private and public sectors up and down New Zealand.
“The relationships that Ken started to form outside this organisation critical for the work that he was doing it’s been a tragic loss to us all.
“Our condolences go to Melanie and family and his close friends and I’m sure we confident that we carry on the work that ken started.”
The public memorial at Baycourt will begin at 3pm.