Seats to remember Zed boys

MEMORIAL: Stonemason Mark Robberds with his sculpture to be unveiled on the Esplanade on Sunday morning.

Late last year, two members of Sumner’s Zarifeh family, Paul and then son Sam, died within three weeks of each other.

Paul Zarifeh died of pancreatic cancer on November 23 last year aged 60. He co-founded the Canterbury Wetsuit Company, later Seventhwave Wetsuits, in 1987.

Three weeks later, Sam Zarifeh, a teacher at Christchurch Boys’ High School, died after falling from a raft on the Landsborough River, inland from Haast.

He was on a trip with fellow CBHS teachers who were taking the trip to celebrate the end of the school year. They were thrown into the water in a rough section of the river. All but Zarifeh survived.

Julie, Sam and Paul Zarifeh

On Sunday, a sculpture in their memory will be unveiled on the Esplanade and the occasion marked with a community mid-winter swim which the family hopes will become an annual tradition.

The sculpture was designed and constructed by Sumner stonemason Mark Robberds after Paul Zarifeh’s widow Julie approached him about the idea.

“It is hard to believe seven months has passed by since the losses of our beloved Zarifeh menfolk, Paul and Sam,” Mrs Zarifeh said.

“As a family we continue to be immensely grateful for the outpouring of community support and kindness, and are thrilled to now be able to share this memorial as a focal point of remembrance.”

The stone sculpture will be a place to sit and reflect “and maybe also check the surf,” Mr Robberds said. “The stones themselves are significant as they were foundation stones from a Christchurch building.

“In many ways Paul Zarifeh provided a foundation for many surfers in Christchurch through his business and through his support of young competitive surfers. Sam Zarifeh also provided a strong foundation for others in his role as a boarding master and teacher at Christchurch Boys’ High.”

Stonemason Ben West and Sumner landscape architect Cameron Rennie have also helped Mr Robberds with the project.

To reflect the family’s love of the outdoors, a number of special stones from around the South Island – including one that represents Paul’s Palestinian heritage – have been cast into the larger stones.

The family has put out an open invitation to the community to go along and make a splash, “in the Zed boys’ memories.”

Mrs Zarifeh extended her thanks to Mr Robberds for his “design, creation and implementation of the sculpture, and also, in advance, to the numerous local businesses who have generously donated prizes for the mid-winter ‘splash’ this Sunday.”

There will be coffee, refreshments and prizes at the event, which takes place at 11am on Sunday at the Esplanade end of Hardwicke St.