Sadness at the passing of our Patron Sir David Levene

Kua hinga te tōtara i Te Waonui-a-Tāne. The totara tree has fallen in Tāne’s great forest.

Kia ora Outward Bound whānau,
 
Kua hinga te tōtara i Te Waonui-a-Tāne. It is with a huge amount of sadness that I share the news that our Patron Sir David Levene has passed away this week, aged 91. 
 
I had the privilege of meeting Sir David in the first few weeks in my role, and it was an incredibly humbling experience to speak with one of our founders, someone who has contributed so much over 60 years, and had deep wana for what we do. It is hard to imagine someone who embodies our Kaupapa more than Sir David Levene.
 
Sir David has shared with many of us how he became involved in Outward Bound, and I’d like to share it briefly with you all in his words.

In 1960 he was a young man making his way in Auckland, and was a new member of the Auckland Central Rotary Club. One day Sir Woolf Fisher and Sir Roy Mackenzie called him to a meeting and shared with him their plan to set up an Outward Bound School in New Zealand. They had spoken with the Governor General at the time, Viscount Cobham (Charles John Lyttelton), and several others and they were all supportive.

They wanted Sir David as an up-and-coming businessman to become involved. Sir David said he had no knowledge of what this was but he liked the idea of people being their best and being in control of their future. He described himself as the young-gun amongst the group. Sir David has said many times his involvement with Outward Bound has been one of the most rewarding aspects of his life.

Sir David Levene

Sir David was also instrumental in setting up our Foundation. He started this work in 1997 and the Foundation was formerly ratified in 2000. Sir David personally contributed and encouraged others to contribute. The Foundation today is worth $18million, and is there to support Outward Bound in perpetuity. 

You may know that our wonderful Levene Lodge in Anakiwa is named after Sir David, a reflection of not only his contribution to Outward Bound, but also acknowledging the value he placed on our staff. People were at the heart of everything for Sir David. Sir David Levene received the Kurt Hahn award in 2018, which is our highest honour.
 
There is a lot of sadness amongst our whānau today as we honour his legacy and reflect on how grateful we are for his support and belief in us all. Please take a moment today to reflect on the life of this wonderful and generous man, his service to Outward Bound and Aotearoa. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
 
Kua hinga te tōtara i Te Waonui-a-Tāne. The totara tree has fallen in Tāne’s great forest.
 
Ngā mihi nui,

Malindi MacLean
Outward Bound Chief Executive