Laurence Bernard ROBERTS
Wellington-born Laurie Roberts’ association with Levin began in 1931 when he raced in cycle meetings at the Levin Domain. He was 21, and this was the year he became national track cycling champion in two events.
In 1949, he moved to the town for good, with his wife Ruby and son Michael, and began to leave his permanent mark here. He won the contract to build the sewerage works on Mako Mako Road and then through the 1950s his small drain-laying company put down much of the underground pipe system that channelled our waste water to that processing plant.
After selling his business and ‘retiring’, Laurie served three terms as Levin borough’s mayor throughout the 1970s, a prosperous decade for business in which he thrived as a man always determined to get things done. He led the development of the town’s stormwater network, improvements to main roads, and saw off a challenge to Horowhenua’s independence which was being threatened by local government reforms. He readily supported the conversion of Dr Thompsons house in Kent Street into a community arts centre.
Laurie’s heart always remained close to the sport of cycling, about which he wrote with great authority for newspapers and magazines, and he financed and built the ‘new’, still-used banked cycle track at the Domain that now carries his name.
He died in Levin in 1998 at the age of 88 and is buried in the Returned Servicemen’s cemetery at The Avenue. He had served in the Pacific during World War II.
Levin Cycling Club