A Marist priest who travelled to Kaikoura to help after the earthquake last year died on Christmas Eve.
Fr Kevin Mears, SM, 81, was scheduled to celebrate Masses over the Christmas period in Kaikoura, which is still recovering from November’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Fr Mears went to Kaikoura Hospital with a heavy cold, but suffered a heart attack while there.

Going to Kaikoura was one example of the relieving work he did throughout
New Zealand, helping out when and where he could.

After Fr Mears died, another priest reportedly travelled to Kaikoura to celebrate Masses in the seaside town on Christmas Day.

A memorial service was held at Sacred Heart church in Kaikoura on Boxing Day. A requiem Mass was celebrated at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Wellington on December 29.

Fr Mears was born in Westport in 1935 and was professed as a religious of the Society of Mary in 1955.

He was ordained a priest in July, 1959 at St Canice’s church in Wesport. From 1960 until
1998 he worked in four Catholic schools – St Patrick’s College, Wellington, Hato Paora College near Feilding, Chanel College in Samoa and at St Bede’s College in Christchurch,
where he had himself attended secondary school.

Appointments included the Chatham Islands, St Mary’s (Manchester St) in Christchurch, Waitara and Palmerston North (Our Lady of Lourdes).

Fr Mears reportedly had strong ties with Wellington’s Samoan community. He was known for his energy and stamina.

After the December 29 requiem Mass, his body was interred at Makara cemetery.

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