Evan Smith was a man who has passionately advocated for the public ownership of the Red Zone, and last Friday succumbed to the cancer which he has been battling for years.
I admired Evan greatly and we had some fierce debates, and sometimes disagreements. He was uncompromising and inspiring. However, in the discussions we had so many times at the Tuesday Club about the Red Zone, and at the numerous public meetings held over the years, the ideas all got better. Evan made sure of that.
This City owes Evan so much.
Here’s the article which the Press wrote which was printed in yesterday’s paper. It’s an excellent article https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/122599819/evan-smith-supreme-champion-of-christchurchs-red-zone-has-died.
A few weeks ago, we wrote this in the Tuesday Club notes:
In the video in the article below there is an amazing interview with Evan Smith at Nurse Maud Hospice. Evan has been the voice, and the conscience, of community activity in the Red Zone. He is currently dying and his observation of what needs to be done, and who needs to do it, is especially poignant.
Now he has died for Evan’s sake please watch this brilliant video by Gerard Smyth’s team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD-BetHo19Y.
I asked one of the founders of CanCERN, Tom McBrearty, to write something about Evan. Here’s what he wrote:
Evan Smith “The Somebody who did”
“Somebody has to do Something”
A catch phrase call to action that is used by many, delivered by few.
Evan Smith was the “Somebody” who did and I am privileged to have known him as the leader many aspire to, the friend that stood by me, supported me, disagreed with me, laughed with me and on the odd (not many) occasion had a man cry with me. A true Brother.
As a River Road resident, I knew Evan by sight nodding acknowledgment at the Palms, or on a walk along the River.
Post September 2010 life changed and the people we knew as Neighbours came together looking after each other and ensuring all was well.
Beyond neighbours we suddenly became a whole neighbourhood of support and knowledge, the beginning of the CanCERN focus:
The Community leads through Knowledge-their Knowledge, listen to the Community they know the solutions that work
One of those leading the charge was Evan, his knowledge, energy, focus and delivery was astonishing, and he delivered for so many.
Not for him relying on someone or somebody. Hell no.
He hit the road, visited houses gathered likeminded people and a new community group was born.
Others will speak and have already spoken about the groups he formed, led, created and through them he delivered-for the Community, By the Community and with the Community.
Evan for me was one of the people who combined intellectual rigour with “Street Smarts”
Yes, he worked at speed but he backed that speed up with facts, figures, emotion and persistence.
“No” meant that word was a challenge. Ok, so hit pause, find another door, rephrase, deliver and keep repeating until we get to Yes-that was Evan.
He knew how to utilises the talents, the energy and the skills that individuals were able to offer.
Very few let him down. Very few got a second chance. Very few failed. He chose well.
Others have said Evan has delivered a legacy.
No, he has shone a light on the East and the River as an asset to our city. He offered a vision and delivered a way to do it.
He has handed the mantel on to others and received promises that the City will deliver.
Evans Legacy will be that we deliver on his behalf and we must ensure that we do.
Finally, Evan to you “Thank you” for being a friend to me personally and to the City as a whole.
Your family will miss you however they will never lose sight of what you gave to our city.
That will be evident as they and the people of the future uses the Corridor from the City to the Sea. Priceless in its simplicity. Live on Evan, the seeds were sown by you. Our City will deliver your Vision.