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Don Hewitt: obituary

March 2, 2024

It was a somber day on the 29th of February for many at BHCT, as we had to say farewell to the first board chair, Don Hewitt.  BHCT trustees and friends were in attendance of the funeral to honour Don and acknowledge his legacy with the   Founding trust member Geoff Pike provided those who were not fortunate enough to know Don with this obituary.

In 2001 A Trust was formed and its name was the Bream Head Conservation Trust with its first chair and accountant Don Hewitt.

I think it was because of a strong public profile and robust financial accountability that John Davidson, the man who was instrumental in formalising our organisation, decided to shoulder tapped Don in the hope that he would concede to the request, not really knowing what he was letting himself in for.

Conservation was a slightly edgy endeavour at that time and I am sure some of the things that were asked of him would have grated somewhat considering his natural conservative disposition.

I don’t ever remember him complaining , perhaps killing stoats, possums and rats was a refreshing change from crunching numbers in his normal working life.

I think of him as our establishment chairman so he had to undergo lots of talking and persuading, trying to convince funding organisations to trust us with their money so we could get on with the work at Bream Head.

So by the time 2010 rolled around, we had our first ranger, Pete Mitchell and we were really starting to make a difference in support of the ecology.

Around this time Don decided to step down in favour of one of our other trustees Robin Lieffering who had recently retired from being a district councillor.

I think what Don provided for us was a steady pair of hands, something we have often reflected on with gratitude and he would be very pleased to know his conscience work has continued to be successful and we are in a better position now than we have ever been.

He did have an uncanny knack of contacting me completely out of the blue to say “ I’m in funds , is there anything you need.” And the last time it happened our bait freezer had just given up the ghost, so at the stock of a deposit,v john John’s we had a new bait freezer exactly when we needed it.

He was a quiet achiever and Don we all mourn your passing.

Kindest regards

Geoff Pike

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