You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Funeral service for Murray Ball held

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/03/2017

Gisborne's Wal and Dog statue has been moved to the Bushmere Arms for Murray Ball's funeral.

The service was scheduled to start at 1pm on Friday.

Gisborne District Council said it had responded to a request to have the Footrot Flats statue temporarily moved to join in the celebration of Ball's life.

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon said the council felt it was a fitting gesture given the contribution Ball had made to the local community and internationally.

"We all feel a great sense of loss for someone who has had such an impact on the generations of people who were raised with his drawings," he says.

Currie's Construction transported the statue to their workshop, before taking it to the service.

Flowers that were placed as tributes at the statue have been carefully gathered and will be placed back on the statue at the service.

"Honouring Murray Ball today at The Bushmere Arms. We also have the bronze statue of Footrot Flats here in the garden which looks lovely," the venue says on Facebook.

The statue will be returned to its regular spot along the Taruheru River on Monday.

Ball died on Sunday. His wife Pam, three children and grandchildren were there, as well as Mr Ball's brother Barry and close friends. Mr Ball had Alzheimer's. He was aged 78.

A piece of graffiti art showing a sad looking Dog gazing up at a lone star appeared on the side of a water reservoir at Big King Reserve in Three Kings in Auckland this week.

On Thursday Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy also paid tribute.

She said more than 30 events are being held throughout March to mark Race Relations Day.

Every March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination marks the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre when 69 black South African citizens - including 10 children - were shot to death by their own police for protesting against racial apartheid laws, she said.

"What's poignant this month is we also mark the recent passing of Murray Ball, a passionate anti-apartheid activist, brilliant cartoonist and social commentator," says Dame Susan.

"In 1985 Dog wrote an open letter to the NZ Rugby Union explaining why he couldn't be the mascot if they were touring apartheid South Africa and in doing so a guy from heartland New Zealand showed all of us how to be a human rights activist and he did it in the most Kiwi way possible.

"Thirty two years later Dog is a mascot the Human Rights Commission would be proud to adopt," Dame Susan said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon