By JOHN RITCHIE
Ashley Heenan, composer, music administrator. Died aged 78.
The publication, a few weeks before his death, of God Defend New Zealand: a history of the national anthem was as fitting a tribute as could be imagined to the life and achievement of Ashley Heenan.
Published as No 11 in a series by the University of Canterbury, it is a monument to the author Heenan's curiosity, tenacity and sense of historical justice.
Born in 1925, the son of Joseph (later Sir Joseph) Heenan who headed the department of Internal Affairs in the 1930s and 40s, Ashley inherited his father's directness, pragmatism and Irishness. His life in most spheres - administration, music performance and sport - was coloured by a robust vigour. He could be very direct.
Early schooling in Wellington was followed by Nelson College (1939-1942) and Victoria University, then two years' study at the Royal College of Music, London. He joined the Broadcasting Service at 17 and returned there in 1951 to work with touring artists for the NZBS Concert Section.
He worked as music assistant to two conductors of the National Orchestra and later became the first musical director of the orchestral trainees, a job he held for more than 20 years.
Much of his early output was film music, frequently with an indigenous flavour. Most would agree that his musical score for James K. Baxter's Jack Winter's Dream was his most significant. But it was part of a large list of compositions.
Ashley Heenan lived almost his entire life in Wellington. Honoured by the Queen, the Phonographic Industry and the Composers' Association, he served the music industry with distinction and with a sense of purpose that it sorely needed.
He is survived by his wife, Maureen, two sons and two daughters.
By JOHN RITCHIE