Whanganui community stalwart Allan Anderson has died.

The well-known farmer, conservationist and former politician died on Monday, October 21, aged 79.

Anderson was born in Eltham and moved to Brunswick when he was 10. He attended Brunswick School and Wanganui Technical College (now Whanganui City College).

Anderson and his wife Rosemary farmed in the Waitotara Valley for many years.


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He and his friend Bob Marshall bought 723ha at Orangimea in the Waitotara Valley when they were in their 20s. The farm had 500 sheep, 30 cattle and a lot of reverting bush. They cleared it, sleeping in tents, and the farm development was filmed by the National Film Unit.

The Andersons, and Bob and Maureen Marshall, developed the Anderson and Marshall Romney Stud, breeding hardy hill country sheep in a partnership that lasted 30 years.

In his younger years, Anderson was a keen member of the Westmere Young Farmers Club and he won the grand final of the Skellerup Young Farmer of the Year in 1970.

The long-time farmer was also a dedicated conservationist, receiving the Queen's Service Medal for services to conservation and the community in 2009.

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He was a longstanding member of Forest & Bird and dedicated much of his time to supporting Bushy Park sanctuary.

His association with Bushy Park began in 1962. His fundraising efforts for the bird sanctuary totalled $2.5 million from 1996, including $60,000 for the introduction of hihi, one of the world's rarest birds, and $1m for a pest-proof fence to protect the wildlife.

Allan Anderson leads a tour of the predator fence at Bushy Park. Photo / File
Allan Anderson leads a tour of the predator fence at Bushy Park. Photo / File

Anderson won the environment award in the Pride of New Zealand awards in 2015, receiving $4000 which he gave to benefit Bushy Park.


He was nominated for a Kiwibank Local Hero award in the 2016 New Zealander of the Year awards. The nomination was for his dedication to preserving the environment.

Politics was another key part of Anderson's life.

In 1986 he was named the National Party's Wanganui electorate candidate but was not elected to Parliament. In 1993 he travelled to Cambodia as one of seven New Zealand observers of the Cambodian election.

His focus later turned to local body politics and he was elected to the Whanganui District Health Board in 2007, stepping down in 2016. He also served as a Whanganui district councillor from 2008, when he was elected in a byelection vacancy, until 2013.

Anderson was involved in service clubs and was a Justice of the Peace.

The Anglican Church was fundamental to Allan and Rosemary's life, with Rosemary being an Anglican priest. They were also involved in The NZ Church Missionary Society and its local branch.

Anderson is survived by his wife of 53 years Rosemary, two children and eight grandchildren.

His funeral is at Christ Church Anglican Church at 11am on Friday.

A full obituary will be published at a later date.