Catholic memorial service planned for Dunedin identity Joan Butcher


Dunedin’s Holy Name Catholic Church will  hold a memorial service for local identity Joan Butcher who died on Sunday a week ago.

A social media post from Mayor Aaron Hawkins says there was a small funeral for Butcher last week. Although attendance was restricted because of Level 3 restrictions, Hawkins says the memorial service will take place when Level 1 is reinstated.

Fr Mark Chamberlain says Butcher was well-known to North Dunedin’s Holy Name parish.

She had had long-term health issues and battled alcohol addiction for many years.

Dunedin people are being urged to sign a petition calling for a plaque dedicated to Mrs Butcher.

“Dunedinites kept her safe on her nightly adventures and in a way, she kept her people safe too”, the petition page says.

“People come and go from our great city, whether it be to move onto another location or it’s just to explore the world. But Joan was always a constant, ready to welcome you home with a smile and a song. The rest of the world has fancy celebrities and Dunedin had Joan and that’s what makes the culture of this city great.”

The petition then goes on to point out that dedicating plaques to city identities in New Zealand has some well-known precedents – like the Birdman, who was of the sights of Christchurch’s Cathedral Square.

“When Christchurch lost their Birdman, they remembered him by placing a plaque where he loved most, the Square. I think it is only fitting that the DCC [Dunedin City Council] place a memorial of Joan in our city so she can continue to be apart of Dunedin’s street life and more importantly that we don’t forget her.

“One day should someone look at the plaque and ask, who is that? We can say, that’s Joan Butcher. She was a daughter of Dunedin and a guardian of our streets.”

By 6 September, the petition had 3,504 signatures.


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News category: New Zealand.

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