Ernest Mervyn Hall Kemp, CBE, MBE, FCA, JP, was Mayor of Tawa for 28 years, 1955-1983, the greater part of its existence as a borough.
Born in Melbourne, he came to New Zealand in 1938 on a working holiday at the instigation of his father who had been appointed Financial Secretary of the Salvation Army. When World War II broke out Mervyn joined the New Zealand Army, was commissioned and spent the ensuing two years training recruits. Later proceeding overseas he fought in Italy and after the conflict settled in Tawa Flat with his wife Nancy.
He quickly identified with community affairs and was nominated for the new Town Board. During the next 32 years he was successively Town Board commissioner, Borough councillor, deputy mayor and mayor. As well as these commitments he also found time to serve for 25 years on the NZ Municipal Association Executive and on the Local Authorities Loans Board. He was also on the Board of Health, the Wellington District Roads Board, the Porirua Fire Board and the Wellington Regional Council. The last named he chaired for six years. He served more than 30 years as a member of the Wellington Free Ambulance Board.
For his services to the community Mervyn Kemp was awarded the CBE and the MBE. Locally he has been honoured in the naming of Tawa's library.
[Reproduced with permission from the book "Tawa - Enterprise and Endeavour" by Ken Cassells]