Charismatic, insightful, ambitious, pragmatic … the tributes are flooding in for Sir Rob Fenwick, a noted New Zealand environmentalist and entrepreneur who died this morning.
"It is with great sadness that our family shares with you news of Rob's passing," a family spokesperson said in a message to friends and colleagues.
"After a five-year dance with cancer, Rob passed peacefully at home surrounded by his beautiful girls. As you can imagine this is an unbearable loss for us but we know we share this loss with all New Zealanders."
Fenwick was a highly-regarded, successful Auckland-based director and board chairman, a leader, entrepreneur, businessman and environmentalist. He was 68.
Last week he was recognised by the Institute of Directors for his outstanding achievements and services to governance and leadership roles over more than three decades.
He was made a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.
Air New Zealand chairwoman Dame Therese Walsh said it was difficult to find words to give justice to Fenwick's immense contribution to New Zealand and businesses such as Air New Zealand where his roles included heading up the company's sustainability advisory panel.
"We all have a huge amount of respect for his intelligence and drive, his many and great achievements and most of all, for the visionary, humble and kind man he is," Walsh said.
"As Sir Rob has challenged us to raise our sights, he has done so with his characteristically insightful, ambitious, yet pragmatic approach, and always with a sparkle in his eye - as he talks about the opportunity we have to together build a better, stronger and more prosperous business and Aotearoa."
Fenwick had pivotal roles at Air New Zealand and was a relentless advocate for sustainability, positive environmental change and for ambitious environmental action by Air New Zealand on both domestic and global stages," Walsh said.
"One of the greatest gifts has been Sir Rob's desire over the past decade to show us all the power of partnership. As Chair of Antarctica New Zealand, Sir Rob was instrumental in convincing Air New Zealand of the merits of investing in science on the ice and helping to tell the story of why Antarctica and climate science is critical to New Zealand's future success. The legacy Sir Rob has created through the Aotearoa Circle is another great example of his incredible mana and ability to connect public and private sector actors and scientists, to together solve for some of the trickiest environmental challenges that New Zealand faces."
He was also a true friend to many people, she added.
Just over one year ago, Fenwick co-founded The Aotearoa Circle, a group of public and private-sector leaders committed to halting the decline of New Zealand's natural capital.
The Aotearoa Circle, whose partners include ANZ, BNZ and Westpac banks, Air New Zealand, Fonterra, the Ministry for the Environment, the Department for Conservation, MBIE, Auckland Council, Local Government New Zealand, Deloitte, EY and PWC, has also initiated Marine and Biodiversity workstreams developing system change programmes.
Circle co-founder Vicky Robertson, secretary for the environment and chief executive of the Ministry for the Environment, said of Sir Rob: "Over the past five years he has stood with me – and many others – in shared responsibility for long-term investment in our natural resources. Sir Rob's legacy needs to be more action and more urgency as we continue his work to secure a New Zealand we are proud to leave for future generations."
Fenwick was knighted in 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours for his contributions to sustainability, wildlife protection, waste minimalisation, Antarctica and iwi development.
He was also awarded the 2015 Blake Medal, was a finalist for the 2016 New Zealander of the Year Award, and was inducted to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame in 2016.
Department of Conservation director-general Lou Sanson was chief executive of Antarctica New Zealand when Fenwick was chair of the board.
"He was nothing short inspirational, always enthusiastic, and massively influential. He didn't shy away from speaking out about climate change, its impact on the ice shelfs of Antarctica and the possible consequences for New Zealand if we didn't take action."
"Sir Rob was a conservation advocate of the first order."
Ngati Whatua Orakei is welcoming Fenwick on to the marae from 11am Saturday and the family requests that anyone who would like to personally farewell Rob take this opportunity to join them.
Details and information regarding Fenwick's funeral at The Holy Trinity Cathedral will appear in the Herald Death Notices over the next few days.
He is survived by Jennie Lady Fenwick, his daughters Amanda, Charlotte and Isabel Fenwick, his grand-daughter Ruby Smythe, and his daughter in law Rowhan Fenwick.