It was with great sadness that we learnt of Jim Holdaway’s death on the 14th January 2012.
Jim was a founding member of The Tree Council back in 1985, along with John Morton, John Hogan and Ian Barton. This group of forward thinking men were concerned at the destruction of mature trees within the Councils that at the time made up the Auckland Region. They began The Tree Council specifically to advocate for the protection of these trees within the Auckland region.
In the mid 1980’s Jim was already a leader on conservation issues within the region and much has been written about the work he did to promote greater protection of the islands and waters of Hauraki Gulf. A hugely important outcome of this was the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. His advocacy of regional parks for the Auckland region is another important legacy we must all be thankful for, arising from his forethought and leadership within regional politics.
Jim’s faith in the aims and objectives of The Tree Council never faltered and he always remained a keen supporter of the work The Tree Council does. He held the honorary position of president for the past 25 years. No gathering, tree walk, seminar, or interesting talk escaped Jim’s presence, even in the last year of his life and always with his wife Ann’s support.
The Tree Council’s 25th anniversary celebration was held at the Holdaway’s Northcote home in October last year, and although Jim was unable to be with us in person on that day his wife was. When Ann visited Jim that evening she was able to tell him about the enthusiastic way we celebrated his, and our other founding members’, contributions to the organisation.
As Chris Williams (a long standing member of the Tree Council) said “From the foundation meetings to recent years I found myself rather in awe of Jim. His diplomatic and persuasive manner would allow all to contribute, he questioned and listened, and then summarised without bias. Yet on some issues his vast experience would mean he could cut to the point and call as he saw it. His focus always seemed to be on better urban environs and conservation, and how the available mechanisms collectively achieve this.”
We will miss Jim’s always thoughtful reinforcement of the work we do thanking him for his support and encouragement that has made The Tree Council such a strong advocate for the importance of trees within our urban environment.