Running great Dick Quax dies

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Olympian Dick Quax has died after long and courageous battle with cancer.

Quax, 70, an Auckland councillor of Pakuranga, won a silver medal in the 5000m at Montreal in 1976.

Seasoned sports journalist Suzanne McFadden posted on Twitter: “So sad to hear that Dick Quax has passed away. An incredible athlete in an amazing era of Kiwi middle-distance kings. RIP.”

Another long-time sports writer Marc Hinton also tweeted: “Sad to hear of Dick Quax’s passing. He, John Walker and Rod Dixon were greats of the ’70s. Loved watching them all race.”

The Howick Local Board has expressed its sadness at the passing of Mr Quax, a Howick ward councillor.

Deputy chair Katrina Bungard said: “Dick has been a strong advocate for Howick during his time at Auckland Council and as councillor on the former Manukau City Council and he will certainly be missed.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife and family at this sad time.”

“My old friend and council running mate, Dick Quax has sadly lost his last race today,” Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross posted on his Facebook page.

“What a guy – Olympic hero, champion for his community, someone who put his blood and sweat into everything he did.

“Dick was a politician with staunch views, but the conversations we had that stick in my mind the most are the many, many discussions we had about his boys Jacob and Theo as they grew up. RIP mate.”

Dick Quax (left) and running mate Jami-Lee Ross (second left).

Rev  Richard Waugh worked with Mr Quax for a time. “Dick was always a focussed person. He brought many learnings from his athletic success to local government and community service and I always admired his determination and passion.

“I enjoyed serving with him on the Pakuranga Community Board. He was one of our local heroes and characters and will be very much missed.”

Mayor Phil Goff said: “We are all saddened to hear of the passing of Dick Quax today.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Roxanne and his children.

“Dick served as a councillor, first on the Manukau City Council and then on the new Auckland Council, representing Howick Ward.

“He was a passionate contributor in council debates, advocating strongly on behalf of his constituents.

“We remember him also as one of New Zealand’s finest athletes, representing us at the Olympics and international events.

“On behalf of Auckland Council, we offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time,” said Mayor Goff.

Councillor Dick Quax began his local government tenure in 2001 when he was elected to the Manukau City Council in the Pakuranga ward. He served three terms on the Manukau council, returning in 2004 to represent the new Botany-Clevedon ward. In the 2007 local body elections he ran for Mayor of Manukau City, losing his bid to Len Brown.

He was chair of Manukau City Council’s Community Safety Committee and lead the council’s ‘Safe City’ portfolio, this included representing the council’s Civil Defence responsibilities.

Cr Quax was elected to Auckland Council in 2011 following a by-election to replace Jami-Lee Ross who resigned to become a Member of Parliament. He was re-elected, as a Howick ward councillor, alongside Cr Sharon Stewart, in 2013 and 2016.

He was Chair of the Auckland Council’s Tenders and Procurement Sub-Committee during the 2010-2013 term.

Cr Quax was an unstinting advocate for Howick, Pakuranga and the eastern suburbs. He is known for his strong positions on high-density housing, public transportation and Auckland’s Unitary Plan. Cr Quax was also known as a steward of ratepayer funds, which was a particular focus in his 2011 maiden speech.

“My platform for the Howick by-election was based around the need for council to focus on its core activities and spend our ratepayers money wisely and to make our region affordable so that everyone can enjoy living here,” Cr Quax said.

He is survived by his wife Roxanne and children Tania, Jacob and Theo. A celebration of his life will be held at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell on Saturday at 1pm.

The Times extends its deepest condolences to Mr Quax’s family.