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Dame's companion dies

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Brian Kirby, the husband of Maori Women’s Welfare League past president Dame Georgina Kirby, has died of pneumonia at the age of 83.

Dame Georgina says he was a great friend and supporter in their 54 year of marriage.

The couple met while they were working for the post office telephone exchange in Wellington in 1960, and they were married at St Faith’s Church in Rotorua.

After a spell managing post offices in Silverdale and Waiwera, they bought a retail business in Auckland and moved to the city.

As Dame Georgina became increasingly involved with Maori organisations, Mr Kirby became the manager of the Auckland City Council’s new community centre in Freemans Bay, which was called Waiatarau at their insistence.

This became the base for one of the first kohanga reo, and also served as a home for a long-funning film and television training course run by the late Don Selwyn.

He was also a stalwart of the Labour Party and in later years was active in Grey Power.

Mr Kirby’s funeral service will be at the Tilton, Opie and Pattison funeral home in Grey Lynn on Friday morning.

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