Waiheke is mourning the death of one of the island’s most recognisable characters – activist, musician and teacher Kara Nelson, who died on Tuesday aged 102.

Jane Griffith, a friend for 20-years, said Kara had been ready to go after a full life but even so, her death had still left a large hole in the lives of everyone who knew her.

Kara will be remembered for her powerful confidence and fiercely determined sense of independence, as well as an adventurous nature that took her around the world to the UK’s Greenham Common anti-nuclear demonstrations in the 1980s and a tandem skydive at 90 years-old.

Jane said Kara was a delightfully entertaining friend and had been quick with a joke right until the end – although few of her quips would be suitable for publication.

“She was a great storyteller, which is clear in her autobiography And The Piano Came Too!. It was a naughty, naughty sense of humour, which was delicious for those that experienced it.”

Jane said Kara had always wanted to live as independently as possible and die at home, and she got her wish.

Even on her last day, as she struggled to finish some toast, she was fully alert and spirited. And, said Jane, when her caregivers had wanted to take the toast and clean up, Kara wouldn’t let them.

“She insisted she was going to finish it, so it wouldn’t go to waste.” •


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