The Arts Foundation salutes Sir Paul Reeves — 16.08.11

The Arts Foundation salutes Sir Paul Reeves who passed away last weekend. A great friend of the Arts Foundation, he played a significant role in the shaping of the Foundation in its formative stages.

Richard Cathie, who was Chairman at the time of the Foundation in its formative stages, says "he was a valuable voice for the cultural aspects of what the Foundation was trying to achieve, particularly from the point of view of the contribution the tangata whenua and Pacific island people make to the arts in New Zealand. He was a member of the working party set up on the initiative of Creative NZ and, for a while, was a trustee of the newly-formed charitable trust. He had genuine humility, but also had the ability to speak his mind when the occasion needed it, without causing offence.   He was a man of wide interests, imbued with a sense of wanting to contribute to New Zealand and he achieved this with warmth and a quiet sense of purpose. No matter what area of life he was involved in Sir Paul engendered great respect.     He was a unique New Zealander whose influence on many aspects of our lives has not yet been fully appreciated."  

Trustee, Sir Ronald Scott, says "One important factor that should never be overlooked was that Sir Paul's presence, vision and mana, hugely helped the Arts Foundation successfully widen the boundaries of all New Zealand's recognised and acclaimed core arts and cultures. In 2000 at the Foundation's first presentation of its Laureate Awards in Auckland (which are about recognising outstanding excellence across all of our nation's diverse genres and cultures) he made an inspirational speech that consolidated those fundamental values of diversity for all time. They remain and are now taken for granted. It is one of Sir Paul's enduring legacies."

The Arts Foundation sends its warm condolences to Lady Reeves and to his family.

Image of Sir Paul, taken at the 2001 Arts Foundation Laureate Award ceremony in Auckland.