Act stalwart and prominent farmer remembered

By Doug Laing

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John Ormond established successful rural industries. Photo / Supplied
John Ormond established successful rural industries. Photo / Supplied

John Davies Ormond

July 17, 1945-September 1, 2014

The first candidate chosen by the Act Party, well-known Central Hawke's Bay farmer John Ormond, died at his family's historic farm at Wallingford on Monday, aged 69.

Great-grandson of a pioneering farmer and long-serving 1800s MP, and one of five children of farming leader and 1930s election candidate Sir John Ormond and Lady Ormond, Mr Ormond was a founding member of Act when it was formed in 1993 as a product of the MMP era.

He has stood for Act in all six elections to date, starting with a meritorious 3588 votes (11.38 per cent) in Tukituki in 1996, third behind then one-term Labour MP Rick Barker and National Party challenger Graeme Reeves.

Although continuously professing no intention of becoming an MP, desiring only to grow the Act vote, Mr Ormond represented the party in Tukituki again in 1999, 2002 and 2005, and in Napier in 2008 and 2011.

With politics running through the family veins, along with farming, he also twice sought the party presidency, after the retirements of founding president Sir Roger Douglas in 2001 and successor Catherine Judd five years later.

Known as Johnny, Mr Ormond was the fourth generation of the family to farm Wallingford, carrying the name of John Davies Ormond who settled the property between Waipukurau and Porangahau in the mid-1800s and named it after the town where he was born in Berkshire, England.

J D Ormond was a leading protagonist in the separation of Hawke's Bay from Wellington Province in 1858, becoming the first Speaker of the new Hawke's Bay Provincial Council, and serving 26 years as an MP - representing Clive electorate from 1861-81 and Napier in 1884-1890.

Son Jack took over running the farm as the founder became more and more involved in political matters, and with wife Gladys raised 12 children at Wallingford, including the latter-day John Ormond's father, Sir John Ormond, who became chairman of NZ Meat Producers Board, the Exports and Shipping Council and the New Zealand Shipping Line.

Sir John Ormond was also an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate beaten in Waipawa in 1935 and Napier in 1938.

Head prefect at Christ's College, Christchurch, in 1963, John Ormond graduated from Lincoln College with a Diploma in Agriculture and became a prominent meat and wool farmer, spending 10 years representing beef farmers in the Livestock Improvement Association, He established successful rural industries and also became a computer consultant.

Mick Ormond, one of his three brothers, said that while Mr Ormond had battled ill health for well over a year, he had never intended facing a seventh general election.

"I think he had done his lot," he said.

John Ormond is survived by wife Jenny and his five children, including son Johnno, who is the fifth generation of the family farming Wallingford. He is also survived by three grandchildren.

With St Mary's Church in Waipukurau closed for structural restrengthening, the funeral will be held on Friday at St Luke's in Havelock North, with which Mr Ormond became familiar in his days at Hereworth School.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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