CAFCA stalwart and prolific reviewer Jeremy Agar dies

Jeremy Agar (right) and Murray Horton in Crusaders/Canterbury supporters regalia
Jeremy Agar (right) and Murray Horton in Crusaders/Canterbury supporters regalia at CAFCA headquarters in Christchurch before a 2013 match. Image: Becky Horton

OBITUARY: By Murray Horton in Christchurch

It is with great sadness that I am reporting that Jeremy Agar was found dead in his Lyttelton home today. He was 80.

Agar had been a Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) member since 2001 and a very active committee member for nearly all of that time. He was our chairperson for a number of years.

It is the end of an era for Watchdog (and, to a lesser extent, for Anti-Bases Campaign’s Peace Researcher) — for at least 20 years, Jeremy was the most wonderfully prolific and erudite reviewer.

And he bought the great majority of those books, and paid for the movie tickets, out of his own pocket, declining all offers of reimbursement. He actively sought books out for every issue (you will find his latest — and last — reviews in the December Watchdog, posted this week).

He hated former US President Donald Trump, and everything he stands for, with a passion and had been writing about that in Watchdog for the past several years. His latest — and last — article on that subject is in the December Watchdog.

Agar’s last ever Watchdog reviews and article in the December Watchdog.

Jeremy Agar was passionate about CAFCA and he put himself and his money into it, big time. To give just one example — in 2014, when I undertook my most recent CAFCA national speaking tour, he insisted on driving me (a non-driver) right around both islands for several weeks, at his own expense.

Everywhere we went we stayed with people — where necessary he slept on floors. He was then in his 70s, older than I am now.

Not only did he drive me around, he chaired and spoke at all my meetings — except at the Pacific Media Centre (where he had contributed articles) which he missed out on due to a car space issue. It was the longest and most full-on time I had spent with one other person for years and it was one of the highlights of my life.

Jeremy Agar was not only a colleague but a very good friend. Over the 20 plus years I knew him, we spent a lot of time together and not just on that speaking tour. We shared interests outside of CAFCA and politics — we went to the rugby together and shared memorable moments in cold Christchurch grandstands.

I am greatly saddened that I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to a good friend and colleague. But I console myself that my wife Becky and I were among the guests at his 80th birthday lunch in a Lyttelton restaurant just two months ago, in October. It was a very happy occasion and a great get together.

I will miss Jeremy Agar. He was a unique individual. A full obituary will follow in due course.

Murray Horton is secretary/organiser of the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA). 

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