Kiwis who left their mark on the nation

KATHLEEN WARD


Kathleen ('Midge') Ward allowed herself to become the human face of the Gisborne cancer inquiry when she asked for suppression of her name to be lifted just before she died on June 13. She was 54.

When she gave evidence at one of the opening sessions of the inquiry in May, the mother of five was already frail with cancer.

Her evidence had to be read by her lawyer, Vicky Anderson.

She had a cervical smear taken in 1995 by Dr Michael Bottrill, the Gisborne pathologist whose alleged failure to detect women with cervical cancer was at the centre of the inquiry.

Dr Bottrill found no sign of cancer.

In 1996, she had a second smear taken by a hospital pathologist. Again nothing untoward was found.

In March last year, when she went to see her doctor with pain in her pelvis and legs, she was told she had anaemia. It was only after she went to the Well Women's Clinic the following July that she found she had cancer. She then had radiotherapy at Palmerston North Hospital.

It was too late. It was not solely Dr Bottrill's fault, she said. "It is also the fault of the health system."

DAME RUTH KIRK


The widow of Prime Minister Norman Kirk, Ruth Kirk was well known in her own right as a campaigner against abortion. She died on March 20, aged 77.

Born in Taumarunui, she met Norman Kirk in Paeroa and moved with him to Christchurch in 1948.

In 1974, while her husband was Prime Minister, she created a storm by agreeing to become patron of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child. She took part in anti-abortion protest marches in Wellington and Hamilton.

She caused another fuss less than three months after her husband's death when she auctioned gifts that had been given to him by foreign leaders, and then a few months later books which he had signed. Her state pension as Prime Minister's widow was $5421 a year.

Although she largely stayed out of politics in later years, she rang a Christchurch talkback radio show in 1993 to express fury at Helen Clark's ousting of Mike Moore as Labour Party leader.

TREVOR EAGLE


A pioneer of New Zealand's computer services industry, Trevor Eagle died after swimming on December 9, aged 68.

After a career in IBM, he and his wife, Coralie, established Eagle Technology in 1969 and quickly undercut his former employer by selling $10 million worth of secondhand IBM mainframe equipment to Databank, the original cheque-clearing house.

Today the Eagles' businesses span computer sales, technology education and services such as Eagle Sportsnet, which analyses every first-class rugby game in the country, even while a game is in progress.

Mr Eagle was the founding president of the Information Technology Association in 1988, the Government's first appointee to its Technology for Business Growth advisory committee in 1992, and chairman of the Hi-tech Council.

At the time of his death, he was about to become inaugural president of a new Knowledge Industry Council, linking the software industry with universities, crown research institutes, consulting engineers and venture capital firms.

He represented New Zealand in breaststroke at the Empire Games in 1950 and remained a keen swimmer.

BERNIE KNOWLES


General manager of the Dairy Board from 1975 to 1985, Bernie Knowles is credited with shifting the dairy industry's mindset from supplying cheap produce to Britain to developing more valuable niche products for worldwide markets.

He died on August 6, aged 75.

Brought up in the Wairarapa, he served in the Air Force during the Second World War, then studied accounting and political science.

Mr Knowles became secretary of the Kaitaia Dairy Company, then commercial manager of Roxburgh Dam Construction and engineering manager of Cable Price Downer. He ran the Meat Export Development Company from 1960 to 1965.

He joined the Dairy Board in 1967, and his time there was dominated by the changes brought about by Britain joining the European Economic Community in 1972.

When he retired from the board at 60, he moved across town to be managing director of the Wool Board until 1990.

PATRICIA BARTLETT


Patricia Bartlett, a former nun, founded the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards in 1970 and led the society for 25 years. She died on November 8, aged 72.

She entered the public stage at a time when personal morality and behaviour were being revolutionised by the contraceptive pill, feminism, a general reaction against authority and organised religion, and more tolerant attitudes to sex outside marriage, nudity and homosexuality.

She gathered 49,000 signatures on a petition to include intercourse, nudity, bare female breasts and homosexual and lesbian love scenes under the legal definition of indecency in films, literature and on stage.

The petition did not make it past Parliament's petitions committee.

Under her leadership, the society made 33 submissions to Parliament on various topics such as censorship laws, pornography and sex education in schools.

She wrote copious letters to politicians and constantly tested censors' rulings. At its peak, the society had 22,000 members.

JOCK BARNES


The leader of the watersiders in New Zealand's most bitter postwar union struggle, Jock Barnes, died on May 31, aged 92.

Originally a civil servant, he went on to the Auckland waterfront in his mid-twenties, studied law and served six years on the Mt Albert Borough Council before being elected president of the Auckland union in 1942 and of the national union in 1944.

When Peter Fraser's Labour Government and Fintan Patrick Walsh's Federation of Labour became increasingly concerned about the threat of communism after the Second World War, Jock Barnes' wharfies stayed staunchly socialist.

In 1951, they demanded a wage increase, and imposed an overtime ban to put pressure on their employers.

They were then locked out, and what was by then a National Government passed emergency regulations making it illegal to help the Watersiders' Union.

The union was deregistered.

Mr Barnes stumped the country for the wharfies, drawing crowds of 4000 at the Auckland Town Hall and 2500 in Wellington.

He was jailed for two months for libelling a police officer.

Although the union lost, Mr Barnes continued to fight to the end. In the last few months of his life, he was battling Metrowater over his water bill.

CONNIE PURDUE


A communist who became a fervent anti-abortionist, Connie Purdue was a lifelong campaigner for what she saw as right. She died on March 16, aged 87.

Her mother, Miriam Soljak, was president of the Unemployed Women's Movement. Connie Purdue wrote: "Our days were centred around the Hobson St Trades Hall, raising money, holding jumble sales, distributing donated food and arranging deputations."

Mrs Purdue joined the Communist League and became an active unionist. She was president of the Drug and Chemical Workers' Union, and later worked for the Clerical Workers Union. She moved to the Labour Party in the late 1950s.

In the 1970s, she formed the Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity and then the National Organisation for Women, of which she was the first president. She was elected to the Auckland Hospital Board.

But she fell out with feminists, and eventually with the Labour Party, over her opposition to abortion.

She formed Feminists for Life in 1973, and became an arch-conservative on Catholic issues when women began pressing for an equal role in the Church's liturgy.

PHIL RAFFILLS


Phil Raffills, principal of Avondale College for 14 years until his death, at age 54, on August 7, was a leader of the conservatives in NZ education. A devout Christian, he was a member of a church group that smuggled Bibles into China in 1989.

After a fire gutted Avondale College in 1990, he worked day and night with volunteers to resurrect it, and had students back within a week.

The college, New Zealand's largest school, was one of the first to adopt bulk-funding of teachers' salaries, and Mr Raffills became president of the Association of Bulk-funded Schools.

Elected to the Auckland City Council in 1995, he opposed the Hero Parade, declared an all-out war on graffiti and supported Metrowater's policy of cutting off water supply to people who did not pay their bills. Mr Raffills stood for National in the 1996 and 1999 elections.

LAURIS EDMOND

Lauris Edmond was 51 when her first book of poetry was published, launching what she called her "second life." It ended with her death on January 28, aged 75.

Her "first life" was as a wife and mother, living mainly in Ohakune where her husband, Trevor, was a teacher. They had six children.

When she was 39, she experienced what she described as "a tremendous personal crisis." Sitting in the tent on a family holiday, watching the children playing outside with their father, she realised that she was living for them.

She had no life of her own.

"Then I read Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and found that it was happening all over the world, not just to me. That seemed miraculous!"

In the second half of her life, she wrote about her experiences. She did an MA extramurally, edited the letters of A. R. D. Fairburn, edited the PPTA Journal for seven years, was the Katherine Mansfield fellow at Menton, France, and was writer-in-residence at several universities.

At her funeral, writer Fiona Kidman described her as "one of this country's finest poets."

MIKE ROBSON


Mike Robson, managing director of the media group INL, died suddenly after a run near his home in Wellington on December 13, aged 61.

Born and raised on a dairy farm in Pukekohe, Mr Robson became a sports reporter on the Herald.

He worked as an overseas correspondent for Associated Press in the 1960s and was bureau chief for the NZ Press Association in London from 1970 to 1974, writing a book about New Zealand's fight to keep access to the British market after Britain's decision to join the EEC.

He edited Wellington's Evening Post from 1975 to 1981, then joined the management ranks at INL, where he became managing director in 1984.

Under his leadership, INL bought the Christchurch Press, a string of provincial papers and the NZ Newspapers group, including the Auckland Sun, which it promptly closed. It also bought 49 per cent of Sky TV.

NOTED

ARTS

Alison Duff, who sculpted the Frank Sargeson bust in the Auckland Public Library. Frederick Hundertwasser, Austrian painter and architect who designed Kawakawa's public toilets. Allen Maddox, Napier abstract expressionist artist. Bill Sutton, Canterbury landscape artist.

BUSINESS


Tom Ah Chee, founder of Foodtown and Georgie Pie. Roger Davies, founder of the Kwan mandarin business. Norman Doo, Chinese caneware importer and community leader. Johannes Van Loghem, co-founder of Lockwood Homes.

COMMUNITY


Dame Stella Casey, campaigner against broadcasting violence. Chris Chittenden, campaigner against night fixtures at Eden Park. Tony Neary, veteran negotiator for electrical workers. Tom Papali'i, community worker who started regular patrols at Mangere Town Centre.

DIPLOMACY


Chris Beeby, chair of Antarctic Treaty negotiations and lately a WTO judge.

ECONOMICS


Bryan Philpott, doyen of NZ academic economists.

ENTERTAINMENT


Mike Farrell, guitarist with Rough Justice, Red Hot Peppers and Midge Marsden.

ENVIRONMENT


Ronald Lockley, Auckland environmentalist whose Private Life of the Rabbit (1964) inspired Richard Adams' Watership Down. Lucy Cranwell Smith, founder of the Auckland Botanical Society.

JOURNALISM


David Exel, former TV Gallery reporter. A. K. Grant, columnist and scriptwriter (McPhail and Gadsby, Letter to Blanchy).

POLITICS


Frank Knipe, Portage Licensing Trust chairman and co-founder of the Labour Party's right-wing Backbone Club. Astrid Malcolm, former Auckland City councillor.

RELIGION


Selwyn Dawson, Methodist minister, Amnesty International worker and former Auckland City councillor. Alun Richards, Presbyterian pacifist who supported the watersiders in the historic 1951 dispute.

SPORT


Albie Pryor, onetime loose forward who started the Maori sports awards. Norma Marsh, NZ's first female track Olympian. Alec Moir, NZ cricketer who ran hotels at Stewart Island and Port Chalmers. Russ Thomas, former All Black manager and Rugby Union president.

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