Jim was proud of his strong family connections to Devonport.

His grandfather was James Mays (1850-1933), best known for building ‘Pentlands’ hospital (where Jim was born) at 19 Buchanan Street, Devonport in 1893. As part of Mays and Gordon, James also built the Takapuna Pump House which opened in 1906. The reading at Jim’s funeral was taken from James’ family bible. James’ older brother, Oliver Mays (1835-1903), also played a prominent role in Devonport.

James married Kate, and had three children, Gladys, Earnest (Ernie) and Roy. Gladys married David William Mason, and had one son, Jim Mason. Jim grew up at 9 Mays St, and attended the local Devonport Primary school and Takapuna Grammar, where he was a librarian and member of the school rowing team.

After bringing up his family in Herne Bay, Jim returned to Devonport in the early 2000’s, to King Edward Parade (just around the corner from his old family home). He continued to be very active in the Devonport community.

Jim stepped in financially to help save the Victoria Theatre from being demolished, and was then active in the trust that now runs the theatre. The Victoria Theatre Devonport Trust wrote on Facebook:

We were sad to hear of the death of long-time supporter of the Vic, Jim Mason. Jim owned the Victoria Theatre in the mid-1990s and played a huge part in its regeneration. He converted the second-floor lounge into a third screen, installed new seats and replaced a shop with a street-level bar. Soon the theatre began making a profit again. Jim was proud that the Vic was ahead of its time when it screened hit movie, Jurassic Park, for a continuous 24 hours from midnight. Although he sold the theatre a few years later he continued to give his support and was a Victoria Theatre trustee until a few years ago. His commitment to heritage, his love of the Vic and his treasure trove of memories will be missed.

He was also involved with the Michael King Writers Centre, in the old Signalman’s house, on Mt Victoria.

Jim organised the removal of rocks from the beach, for safety reasons, and was a member of the Devonport Yacht Club.

He also facilitated the restoration of the Devonport commemorative fountain and the Mt Victoria tunnels, enabling them to be opened to the public during heritage week and other times.

He was born in Buchanan Street, grew up in Mays Street, and retired on King Edward Parade.

Devonport was a very special place to Jim, and a big thank you to the wonderful community, which he enjoyed so much.

    Lyn Brockelbank
    25 Apr 2020

    I only knew Jim for a few years but that was long enough to appreciate his humour, determination and dedication to help so many groups and organisations. Love and sympathy to all the family.

Leave A Comment