News | 17 August 2018

Wellington Mayor pays tribute to basketball stalwart

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has paid tribute to local basketball stalwart Justin Toebes following his death earlier this week.

Image of Justin Toebes
Justin Toebes with Governor General Jerry Mateparae

“For more than 40 years, Justin was a wonderful servant of Wellington basketball, and one of the reasons the sport is so popular here,” says the Mayor.

“He was also one of the driving forces behind the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie, which is one of the best venues in Wellington for local basketballers. His expertise and experience helped guide the incredible design and construction of the 12-court centre for its 2011 opening.”

The stadium was built following the fire that destroyed the Wellington Basketball headquarters in Newtown.

The Mayor says Justin attended every council and planning meeting until it was built, and was heavily involved in many aspects of the planning, funding and construction.

Justin, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in about 2013, was a very recognisable figure courtside in his wheelchair.

“His presence on courts around the region will obviously be missed,” adds the Mayor.

Justin Toebes was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to basketball in 2016. He was a player in the former Central League and Wellington Basketball Association before going on to be involved in administration with the association, the Wellington Saints, Basketball New Zealand and the FIBA Oceania Board.

A memorial tribute will take place at the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie on Monday 20 August at 10am.