Alice Vivienne Dobson (nee Blundell)
5.7.1929 – 13.5.2018

Born at Kawakawa Hospital on 5 July, 1929 Viv lived her early life with her parents on their farm in the Waihau Valley, Ōkaihau. She attended the Upper Waihau Valley Consolidated School and Ōkaihau District High where she gained all her school qualifications, became a prefect, club captain and represented her school in athletics and basketball.

In 1946 she moved to Kamo with her family – on April 3, 1948 Viv met Dave Dobson while representing Kamo at Kaihu Athletic day. They got engaged on Viv's 21st and were married on March 31, 1951.

Together they built their first home in Whau Valley that would become home to their children Patricia, Lynette, Kelvin and Heather. In 1965 in pursuit of more space and rural lifestyle they bought a house and 2.8ha. This was to be their home for nearly 50 years. It was here they put down roots into the local community, playing bowls and joining Woman's Division.


Viv worked for the Northland Herd Improvement Association, the Māori Affairs Department and Fred McDermott Accountant as clerk and typist.

She served the equestrian community for 60 years. Throughout her life she had a great love of horses – joining pony club in the Bay of Islands in 1945.

She would ride her horse to the Waimate North Show and ride home the next day and ride to rallies behind Lake Omapere.

Affectionately known as Viv by young and old she always encouraged and gave her advice freely and in a warm, cheerful and enthusiastic manner. Her experience, knowledge and coaching methods have been praised by some of New Zealand's highest equestrian riders.

Awards were many – Viv was awarded the 2010 Service Award for exceptional and long service to pony clubs in the Northland area, made patron 2003 and honorary life member of Northland Pony Club in 2009.

She was a highly qualified equestrian judge, helped establish new clubs and was a founding member for Riding for the Disabled; first held on their Kiripaka property in 1978.

She became a life member of Mid-Northern Rodeo and for 44 years she was convener for Rodeo Queen and Princess. Earlier she helped organise catering for rodeos and was made Honorary Life Member (2004) of the Whangārei Agricultural and Pastoral Society.

Viv was able to combine two of her passions as her St John duties would cross over into the horse world. She joined the Order of St John Ambulance 1978, qualified as instructor, public duty officer and transport division.

Viv participated in NZ Federation Sports Medicine courses and started the Mounted Division. Viv's duties included all major sporting events (including Dame Whina Cooper's tangi as duty officer) and Waitangi Days. She was also on the committee and played over 10 years with the Whangārei Indoor Bowling clubs, including Ngunguru and Whareora.

Viv and Dave both received the Brian Maunsell Service to Sports Award (1989) and runner up (1988) which was a great honour but then in 2010 they both received the Civic Honours Award recognising outstanding voluntary community service from the Whangārei District Council.

Her family always came first. She was witty, cheeky, always playing pranks, firm but fair and positive.

Viv is survived by Dave and their four children, nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.