Giuseppe Malaponti, the charismatic Wellington maitre d’ and restaurateur, has died from liver cancer. He was 53.
Malaponti had dedicated much of his life to making sure others were having a good time, from serving the likes of Elton John, Princess Diana and Freddie Mercury at Le Caprice in London, as maitre d’ during Il Casino’s heyday, front of house at Hummingbird, and his own restaurant, MariLuca Ristoro.
I didn’t even know he was ill.
MariLuca Ristoro is one of my favourite restaurants in Wellington and arguable one of the best Italian restaurants in New Zealand. Great food, great wine and charming service. Giuseppe was a major part of that.
Malaponti, who was from Riva Di Chieri near the northern Italian city of Turin, was seconded to run the front of house for John Coleman’s Hummingbird restaurant when it opened in 2000.
His reputation preceded him in terms of front of house, and he had it “in spades, making people comfortable and [offering] service with a smile, always”, Coleman said.
Malaponti, who went on to open his own traditional Italian restaurant, MariLuca Ristoro, spoke modestly about his maitre d’ strengths when interviewed a few months ago, but said welcoming was very important.
“That smile, that approach, already wins you half the game. What you need is the food to be good, the rest is all done, and then you build friendship and trust.”
Malaponti, who died on Wednesday night at the Mary Potter Hospice, is survived by partner Isabel and children Marina, 15, and Gianluca, 12.
Very sad for them. He was a real character.Tags: Giuseppe Malaponti, RIP
The Dom Post reports:
Former Wellington mayor Sir James Belich has died at the age of 88.
He was surrounded by family when he died on Sunday night after a short battle with Alzheimer’s.
“He died at home,” son-in-law, Colin Feslier said. “Shortly before his death he managed one of his last sentences, ‘I think I have had a good life’.”
Belich won the Wellington mayoralty in 1986 on the back of a campaign to end the practice of discharging raw sewage into the sea along the south coast.He brought a Labour majority with him on to council, which was a first for the capital city.
He held on to the mayoral chains until 1992, steering Wellington through a period of recession by encouraging investment in public works such as an extension to the Kilbirnie pool and the development of Civic Square. …
Belich was born in Awanui, Northland, to immigrants from the Dalmatian island of Korcula, off the coast of Croatia.
He studied at Otahuhu College, where he became head boy, before attending both Auckland University and Victoria University.
He spent a decade doing consular work in Auckland and Sydney, and forged a successful career in advertising before becoming mayor.
Belich was also an active member of the United Nations Association and was the founding president of Unicef New Zealand.
Belich was the third Wellington Mayor I recall – after Sir Michael Fowler and Ian Lawrence. Condolences to his family and friends.Tags: James Belich, RIP
Long-serving National MP George Gair has died aged 88.
Gair was the MP for Auckland’s North Shore from 1966 to 1990, holding senior Cabinet posts, including Health, Transport, Energy, Housing and Rail.
He was also deputy leader of the National Party.
George Gair was a lovely man, and one of National’s best MPs of his generation. His politeness was legendary, and a real contrast to Muldoon.Tags: George Gair, RIP
Brave and principled but compassionate and unassuming – Les Munro was the sort of Kiwi character many talk about but few live up to.
With his death on Tuesday New Zealand lost one of the greatest of a generation that put service before self.
In conflict he bravely gave service to his country in the one of the most daring raids of WWII with the Dambusters.
In peace he gave decades of service to his small community and then stood up to help when his wartime mates were in danger of being forgotten.
Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand has “lost a remarkable man who led a remarkable life” with the passing of Munro, the last remaining Dambuster from the RAF 617 Squadron.
Munro died in Tauranga Hospital on Tuesday at 6.15am.
“I was honoured to meet Les Munro in person when I attended the presentation of his medals to Motat just a few months ago,” Key said.
“His contribution to his country and his generosity will not be forgotten,” he said.
Sad he has died. He seemed quite spry and active at the ceremony to hand his medals over to MOTAT.
I honour both his service in WWII, but his spirit of generosity in wanting to sell his medals to fund the British war memorial to his colleagues.Tags: Les Munro, RIP
The ex-chief executive of Fonterra, Craig Norgate, has died in the UK at the age of 50. …
Fonterra chairman John Wilson said: “It’s deeply upsetting to hear of Craig’s passing and our thoughts go out to his wife Jane, and children Dylan, Alexandria and Jordan.
“Craig played a key role in the formation of Fonterra and made a significant contribution to the Co-operative as our first CEO, helping bring together key players in the New Zealand dairy industry with the strategic vision he was known for. He remained a close and trusted friend and mentor to many of our people. …
“Craig had an outstanding career and, notwithstanding the heights of that career, he still remained firmly of the belief he was a boy from the ‘Naki.”
After Fonterra, Norgate was head of PGG Wrightson for six years.
Born in Hawera in 1965, he focused his career on the dairy industry after leaving school.
After studying at Massey University he moved to Hastings and took up his first management role at the Department of Maori Affairs at age 21.
He was there a year before returning to Taranaki with meat company Lowe Walker in 1987. He rose through the ranks quickly and then worked for a subsidiary of the Dairy Board, the Lactose Company, becoming CFO within six months.
He then took over as general manager of Kiwi Dairy, a role his father had held with the company. He stayed for 10 years, with the company’s turnover growing from $285 million to $4.4 billion before the creation of the dairy giant Fonterra in 2001.
Norgate was a former director of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, from 2000 to 2002, and was co-opted onto the Taranaki Rugby Football Union in 2004, serving for 10 years until Taranaki shifted allegiance to the Chiefs in late 2013.
There was so much more he could have done. A very premature and sad death.Tags: Craig Norgate, RIP
Time Magazine reports:
“Britain’s Schindler” stepped up to save children while the world was burning
What if the only way you can be good is to be great? There are moments in history when people are confronted by moral choices so stark that they either have to take risks or turn away. In 1938 it became clear that the Jewish children of Europe were marked for extinction. All across the world, people came to know this shocking truth. And all across the world, people did what we all do—they turned the page of the paper, took another sip of coffee, shook their heads at the tragedy of it all.
Sir Nicholas Winton, who died Wednesday at the age of 106, realized the threat while traveling through Czechoslovakia. Great turning points in human history do not take place in public but in a secret chamber in the hearts of human beings. The heart must be awake before the dramatic action. Winton, a Jew by descent who had been raised as a Christian, decided that he could not simply shake his head and drink his coffee and know that these children would die. His heart woke; he decided to be good by being great.
Winton arranged trains to carry children from Nazi-occupied Prague to Britain. He became the “one-man children’s section of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia.” His plans were ambitious: He drew up lists of thousands of children and persuaded families to accept these refugee children.
So many people today are alive thanks to him. But remarkably he told no one about it.
Winton kept quiet about his work, and the truth of his heroism did not come to light for decades. For almost 50 years he was silent until his wife found documents in the attic, and his story was told.
He didn;’t even tell his wife he saved 669 children from extinction. He saw his actions as ordinary.
He will not be forgotten.Tags: Nicholas Winton, RIP
The Maori Party have announced:
The Māori Party is in mourning today for the loss of a loved friend, champion and trail-blazer, Richard Orzecki.
“Richard was one of our foot-soldiers from our earliest days,” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.
“His commitment to the cause could not be faulted; he inspired everyone in his wake through his enthusiasm and his motivational leadership.”
Mr Orzecki took on the mantle of electorate chair for Te Tai Hauāuru and immediately set out to help set the strategic direction for the Māori Party.
“Nothing was too big a job for Richard. We saw that same application to the task when he became a member of Ngā Pū Waea, the Māori Broadband Working Group” says Mr Flavell.
“Richard fully understood the power of connection for whānau and worked assiduously to link up whānau with their marae through technology. He was a staunch advocate for investing in the right communications infrastructure for marae to consolidate their role as the virtual centres of their community.
Mr Orzecki served on two District Health Boards; was a member of the New Zealand Māori Council, and had previously been chair of his iwi, Te Rūnanga o Raukawa.
Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox says, “While he was proud of his Polish whakapapa through his father, his passion knew no end for the advancement of Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Wehiwehi”.
I knew Richard through his work in the Internet space. He was a member of InternetNZ and was seen as a real leader in the Internet world. He was a strong and effective advocate and was responsible for many initiatives. On a personal note, he was one of life’s really nice people, and his death will leave all those who knew him very sad.Tags: Richard Orzecki, RIP
The Dom Post reports:
Much-loved Wellington lawyer John Marshall, QC, has died after battling a brain tumour.
The 68-year-old died “peacefully and surrounded by family” at his Wellington home on Sunday morning.
The prominent Wellingtonian was diagnosed with a brain tumour 11 months ago.
He is survived by his wife Mary, their three children, John, Annabel and Clementine, and his granddaughter Rose.
“John was an exceptionally warm, loving and supportive husband, father and grandfather.
“He was accepting, courageous and strong during the last 11 months. Throughout his illness, he said that he had had a wonderful life. We will miss him deeply,” they said.
Marshall was a highly regarded litigator whose services to the law were recognised this year when he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
He was former president of the New Zealand Law Society, and in his five-year tenure as chief commissioner of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, Marshall led such prominent New Zealand cases as the Carterton balloon disaster and the Easy Rider fishing boat tragedy.
Marshall was a hugely respected lawyer and contributed much to New Zealand and Wellington.
“Part of John Marshall’s legacy to transport safety will be his firm advocacy for better regulation and zero tolerance of substance impairment in safety critical transport roles,” Transport Accident Investigation Commission chief commissioner Helen Cull added.
Marshall was also a significant contributor to the national life of the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand, Knox Church Dunedin minister Kerry Enright said.
“He was conciliatory and gentle in his style, and his professionalism and wisdom together with his warmth and convivial humanity echoed the churches values and helped people respond in difficult circumstances.”
“He was just a wonderfully warm, encouraging, positive, thoughtful compassionate person to me,” Enright said.
Wellington College headmaster Roger Moses first met Marshall in his role on the Wellington College Board of Trustees, when Marshall appointed him to the headmaster role almost 20 years ago today.
Marshall was head prefect of Wellington College in 1964, on the Board of Trustees and chairman of the Wellington College Foundation.
“He will be very sadly missed. I feel pretty emotional, he’s been a wonderful friend,” Moses said.
Marshall was “integrity personified”, he said.
“It’s easy for someone like me to come out with a lot of cliches, but he really was a wonderful human being.”
As always thoughts are with his family and friends.
John Marshall was the son of former National Prime Minister Jack Marshall. I always though John Marshall would have been an excellent MP if he had also gone into politics.Tags: John Marshall, RIP
The Daily Telegraph has rolling coverage of the tributes to Sir Christopher Lee, died aged 93. Amazingly he was still working, preparing to shoot a film with Uma Thurman.
For today’s generation he was the malevolent Saruman, but that was a small part of his 70 year career. He was one of the early Draculas, Count Dooku in a film we won’t name and more.
Lee was fluent in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian and could also speak Russian, Greek and Swedish.
Tags: Christopher Lee, RIP
The Herald reports:
The Government and Business New Zealand have joined in tributes to former Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway who died suddenly yesterday.
Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse said Mr Conway was an engaging, intelligent and passionate advocate for workers who had committed his whole working life to improving the lives of working people. …
Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O’Reilly said Mr Conway was unfailingly constructive as an advocate in employment relations and highly respected by all who worked with him.
“Peter was an industrial leader of the highest integrity and his passing is a sad loss to New Zealand.”
John Bishop of the Taxpayers’ Unions described him as “an unfailingly honourable and dedicated New Zealander who strove to serve the people he represented”.
I think it says a lot about someone who was in the political sphere when they are praised not just by those people on the same side of the spectrum as them, but also sincerely respected and praised by those on the other side.
His family issued a statement yesterday saying he had battled a depressive illness for a year.
“Peter fought hard in a daily struggle to stay with the family he loved. He carried this terrible illness with the same dignity and kindness that he lived his life, but ultimately it took him.”
Mr Conway is survived by his wife, Liz Riddiford, and three children, Maddy, Sean and Rosa.
My condolences to his family and friends.Tags: Peter Conway, RIP
The Herald reports:
Respected lawyer Sir Peter Williams died last night.
The 80-year-old Queen’s Counsel, who has battled prostate cancer for almost a decade, died at his Ponsonby, Auckland home about 6.30pm.
Sir Peter was one of New Zealand’s most respected legal minds and a prison reform campaigner.
He was never battle-shy, having fought for his clients in the courtroom for 60 years, and campaigned for prisoner rights.
There were times I wished Sir Peter was not such a fine lawyer, as he achieved many a “not guilty” verdict. But a fair justice system needs strong and skilled advocates, and he was definitely one of those.Tags: Peter Williams, RIP
Received this morning from her family:
Lecretia Seales, the 42-year-old Wellington lawyer with terminal brain cancer, died of natural causes at 12.35am this morning.
Ms Seales’ health had deteriorated rapidly in the days since her appearance in the Wellington High Court last week where she was seeking a landmark declaration that her doctor would not risk prosecution under the Crimes Act if she were to assist Ms Seales to end her life, in the event her final days became unbearable to her.
Lawyers Andrew Butler, Chris Curran and Catherine Marks also argued that denying their client lawful access to physician assisted death amounted to a breach of Ms Seales’ rights and fundamental freedoms under the New Zealand Bill of Rights.
Ms Seales became increasingly paralysed over the past week and was moved into a hospital bed in her home on the weekend. Since then her husband Matt Vickers and mother Shirley Seales have been caring for Ms Seales supported by Mary Potter Hospice and the Capital & Coast DHB district nursing team.
Ms Seales’ death came just hours after her family and lawyers received Justice Collins’ full judgment. The judge has embargoed his decision until 15.00 hours today. [Friday]
My thoughts and condolences go out to her husband Matt, and the rest of her family and friends. There are few things worse than losing a loved one to cancer at such a young age.
Her CV, which includes DPMC, the Law Commission, Chen Palmer and Kensington Swan, indicates how very successful she had been as a lawyer.
Exposing her private struggle with cancer, to the public, must have been very challenging.
We’ll find out this afternoon at 3.00 pm the decision of the court. While that decision will be on an issue of significant public interest, it is worth remembering that at the core of the case was the untimely death of an individual, who will be missed greatly by her family and friends. For now my thoughts are with them.Tags: Lecretia Seales, RIP
Hundreds of people giggle as they flap their arms, turn in circles, and clap during a funeral.
This could only be the send off for former Southland District mayor and kindergarten teacher Frana Cardno.
In the picturesque setting of Ivon Wilson Park, Te Anau, mourners were greeted by the scent of beech trees as the sun dried rain from their leaves, and bellbirds sung from their branches.
I met Frana back in the mid 1990s when I was helping organise publicity for the Te Anau Scout Jamboree. Very smart and focused, and I noted each subsequent local body elections saw her re-elected as District Mayor for Southland.
She was Mayor of Southland District from 1992 to 2013. I doubt there was anyone who lived down there who did not know her.
Condolences to her family and friends.Tags: Frana Cardno, RIP
Legendary cricket commentator Richie Benaud has died in a Sydney hospice.
You could not over-state his influence on the game. He has been a commentator for over 40 years. The wonderful Twelfth Man take offs could not have happened without him. Truly one of the greats.Tags: cricket, Richie Benaud, RIP
Lee Kuan Yew has died aged 91. If there is such a thing as a benign dictator, he might have been it.
He formed the People’s Action Party in 1954 as a 31 year old. He became PM in 1959 when they won 43 out of 51 seats. Singapore then merged with Malaysia, but Malaysia severed ties in 1965 when led to Singapore becoming an independent state – a state with almost no natural resources.
He won seven elections in a row, with basically no effective opposition parties. In 1990 he officially retired as Prime Minister but remained a de facto head of state as senior minister.
I doubt any one individual has ever been so influential in a country’s development, and overwhelmingly for the better.Tags: Lee Kuan Yew, RIP, Singapore
Malcolm Fraser has died aged 84.
He is the first Australian Prime Minister I can recall. He served almost exactly the same term (1975 to 1983) as Sir Robert Muldoon did in NZ. This probably aggravated them both equally, as they famously did not get on.
He won the 1975 election in a landslide of 91 seats to 36. They also had 35 out of 64 seats in the Senate.
In 1977 they won almost as well 86 seats to 38. The Senate had them with 35 out of 62 seats.
In 1980 it was a comfortable 74 seats to 51 and the Senate was 31 out of 64.
He lost office to Bob Hawke in 1983, holding just 50 seats out of 125.
He was never a hugely a popular leader of the Liberals and after his defeat drifted well to the left of the Coalition, and probably regarded by most Coalition figures with the same disdain UK Conservatives had for Edward Heath.
Fraser has gone to the left of Labor, calling for Australia to abandon its alliance with the US. In the 2013 elections he did a TV endorsements for a Green Senator.
He started his tenure as PM hated by the left for the way he came into office through the sacking of Whitlam. He finished his political life lionised by many on the left and scorned by his former party.
I quite liked him when he was PM, because he wasn’t MuldoonTags: Malcolm Fraser, RIP
The Herald reports:
Author Terry Pratchett has died at the age of 66 after a battle with Alzheimer’s.
The bestselling and much-loved author writer died at home on Thursday, surrounded by his family and with his cat sleeping on his bed, according to a statement which is published in full below.
Pratchett’s Facebook page was updated to say: “It is with immeasurable sadness that we announce that author Sir Terry Pratchett has died.
“The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds. Rest in peace Sir Terry Pratchett.”
Pratchett wrote over 70 books, including 40 as part of the fantasy Discworld series, and sold over 85 million copies in his lifetime.
As soon as news broke of his death broke on Thursday afternoon, his website crashed under the weight of fans wanting to remember the writer.
A very sad loss.Tags: RIP, Terry Pratchett
Leonard Nimoy has died aged 83. he is of course immortalised as the original Spock, whose cultural impact is almost incalculable.
Before he was an actor, he served in the US Army for two years. He appeared in many TV series and films in minor roles before Star Trek including appearing with William Shatner in an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
He played Spock from 1966 to 1969 in Star Trek, and in the first six feature films. He also appeared in the two JJ Abrams movies, as the elder Spock. He actually invented the Vulcan salute.
Both the generation who grew up on Star Trek, and the generation since will mourn his passing. Live long and prosper no more.Tags: Leonard Nimoy, RIP
The Herald reports:
Colleen McCullough, the internationally famous Australian author, has died in hospital on Norfolk Island. She was 77.
McCullough worked as a neuroscientist in the United States before turning to writing full-time. The Thorn Birds, a romantic Australian saga published in 1977, became a worldwide bestseller and a popular mini-series in 1983.
I’ve read The Thorn Birds half a dozen times. McCullough writes with such detail and vividness that it is engrossing. The link to NZ perhaps helped a bit, but it is more her ability to tell such a captivating story where you get so caught up in what happens the characters – especially Ralph and Meggie.
The mini-series version was worthy of the book. Richard Chamberlain was perfect as Father Ralph. Such a good story of love vs ambition.
Her 25 novels included a deeply researched series set in Ancient Rome, which won her the admiration of readers including former NSW Premier Bob Carr and Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives.
Her seven part Masters of Rome series is directly responsible for my interest in classics and Rome. She brought Rome’s life, culture, politics and wars to life in an incredible way. Since I read them, I have gone on to read probably three dozen biographies of Caesar, Sulla, Augustus etc plus several classical texts and scores of other historical fiction set in Rome.
Her historical fiction in Rome was so accurate she was granted an honorary PhD from Macquarie University for it. While she got me onto other Roman historical fiction such as Conn Iggulden, I found most other books set in that era inadequate as it did not have McCullough’s near perfect historical accuracy. Robert Harris is very good also.
I can’t think of an author who has had as much impact on my life in terms of what I read.
McCullough was born in Wellington,
but moved to Australia as a child NSW, and her mother was a Kiwi. Her passing is a great loss to literature.
The Herald reports:
Well-known TV and variety performer Chic Littlewood has died in Auckland.
He came to New Zealand from Britain with his wife and their two sons in 1964 and worked as a baker, later getting into theatre and eventually tv, hosting such favourite children’s shows as Chicaboom, which in 1978 became Chic Chat.
In 1977 he was the first variety entertainer to be awarded Entertainer of the Year, and in 1979 the Variety Artists Club awarded him a Benny Award.
As a kid I watched Chic Littlewood on TV. Willie McNabb was great with him. A sad loss.Tags: Chic Littlewood, RIP
One of New Zealand’s most respected judges, Sir Ivor Richardson, has died at the age of 84.
In a long and distinguished legal career, Sir Ivor rose to became president of the Court of Appeal. He was appointed a judge of the then Supreme Court in 1977 but was almost immediately appointed to the Court of Appeal, where he served from 1978 to 2002.
Richardson was president of the Court of Appeal from 1996 until his retirement at age 72.
Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias said he was a great New Zealander. “He had an unparalleled influence on New Zealand law during his long tenure as a judge, law teacher, and adviser,” she said.
“His work as an appellate judge for nearly three decades touched all areas of law and provided leading cases which remain authoritative today. In addition, his collegial approach to judging and his interest in better judicial administration meant that he has had a unique influence upon the operation of the courts.” …
Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson, QC, also paid tribute to Richardson on behalf of the Government. “It is hard to think of anyone who has made a more substantive contribution to the law and social policy,” Finlayson said. “His was a career marked by excellence in everything he did.”
“Sir Ivor Richardson was unfailingly courteous and pleasant to appear before. But if you weren’t on top of your material, his questions would destroy your case very quickly.”
It says much about Sir Ivor that he was appointed to the Court of Appeal the same year as he was appointed to the High Court. He was made a member of the Privy Council in 1978. A huge loss to the legal profession, but especially to his family and friends.Tags: Ivor Richardson, RIP
The death of Phillip Hughes is incredibly sad – not just for his family, colleagues and friends – but also for the cricketing world.
No game is without its risks, but the rarity of dying from playing the game has been minuscule.
One really doesn’t know what to say. It is just such incredible misfortune.Tags: Phillip Hughes, RIP
Kiwis are mourning “Westie” comedian Ewen Gilmour, who died at his home unexpectedly. He was 51.
Gilmour’s agent, Hillary Coe, confirmed he passed away last night.
“He passed away at home. It was very unexpected as he had not been unwell but it was natural, he passed away in his sleep.”
How sad and unexpected. Condolences to his family and friends.
I saw him do his comedy show around two years ago in Wellington. He was side splitting funny and I may never turn on a hotel light again! The review of his show is here. A huge loss to the NZ comedy scene.Tags: Ewen Gilmour, RIP