Over summer we received news that one of the founders of the Hauturu Supporters Trust had died. Brigadier David McGregor OBE, ED was admired and respected in his career as a lawyer, his parallel military career in the New Zealand Territorial Army, and for his contribution to a range of causes.

Longtime  friend Ray Stone recalls this time in the evolution of The Trust, and the chapter in the island’s conservation journey:

“Back in the 1990s there were a bunch of us, all friends, including Don Binney, myself and some teachers. We liked doing different conservation things and visiting remote spots. One of those trips was to Little Barrier Island.”

They got to work doing jobs to help the ranger, loving it so much they returned for a repeat visit.

“The ranger at the time said we should organise a group to help the island,” says Ray.

David (right) pictured with John Hagen on a 2006 Trust sponsored circumnavigation of Hauturu for significant Trust supporters. Soon after this photo, John would become Chair of the Trust. Photo from the collection of Ray Stone.

And so the idea was born. Soon, over numerous dinners with wine, and inspired by  Ross Galbraith’s Walter Buller book ‘The Reluctant Conservationist,’ connections were made. A group was forming.

At this point David McGregor, senior partner at Bell Gully, was introduced to the project.

In 1997 David formed the group as a legal entity, with himself as Settlor and chairing meetings for many years.

(It was fortunate that his wife Rebecca, a lawyer with a conservation portfolio, was also passionate about rodent control. While she never formally joined the Trust, she contributed a great deal to the project to eradicate rats.)

The founders were determined to take their group as far as they could to support the conservation of Hauturu.

They admired how the Rotary International network catalysed people into action to make things happen and decided to take a similar approach.

“If you give a job to a busy person, you know it will happen so we looked for credible people in the community who could make things happen,” says Ray.

This approach was very successful, enabling the group to shape a strategy of educational programmes, research,  and a workplan, with others doing the physical work, through working weekends. They established procedures to follow around managing weeds and pests to help the rare species the island was home to, thrive, and supported the Department of Conservation with advice.

“The Trust was respected by the Department of Conservation, government and organisations because of the calibre of the group,” says Ray who stayed onboard for 22 years before retiring.

Of David McGregor, Ray says:

“David was a pillar of strength to the Trust. He was incredibly good and passionate about it. He put in the time and became the glue that held the Trust together”

The founding of the Hauturu Supporters Trust

What is now known as the Hauturu Supporters Trust was established in 1997, with the primary objective of supporting and contributing to the conservation of the indigenous values of Little Barrier Island (Hauturu) and its significance as a wildlife sanctuary of national and international importance. The Trust offered an excellent and unique opportunity for business enterprises and people who cared about our environment to contribute in a very significant, effective and direct way.

Founding Trustees were:  

  • Patron: Don Binney OBE
  • Trustees: Bob Cranfield
  • Geoff Drew
  • Judy Hanbury
  • Jim Holdaway
  • Ruud Kleinpaste
  • Ray Stone
  • Nicki van der Meijden
  • Annie Whittle
  • David McGregor OBE – Settlor


Others who have served as trustees since its inception are:

  • Warren Gibb
  • John Hagen
  • Phillip Yates
  • Lyn Wade
  • Ewan Hamlet
  • Nicola Legat
  • Mary Binney
  • Matt Rayner
  • John Clark
  • Shane McInnes
  • Michael Clout
  • Stephanie Gasperini
  • Dhahara Ranatunga

For information about current trustees, click here

Feature image / Liz Barry 



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