Miranda Beuzenberg's Tribute

If I was to choose one word to describe Gottlieb, it would be the word passionate. He would be the most passionate man I've ever known.....Passionate about his much-loved family, passionate about our beautiful country and working to protect our natural environment, and passionate about the safety of others in the mountains world-wide.

I used to love Gottlieb's visits to my home in Te Anau, where he usually stayed for dinner and to share a long chat through the evening before returning to his clients. This is when I first got to know Gottlieb and his passionate love for his beloved family and our beautiful country. His favourite topics to chat about back then were centred on his pride in his two gorgeous girls, their developing talents, their progress through schools, and the pros and cons of NZ's education system. He would also chat about DOC concession issues, the state of NZ's national parks, and the lack of maintenance on DOC tracks. I loved Gottlieb's open and passionate sharing of opinions and feelings, and his willingness to debate issues. Every now and then he'd chat about up-coming trips he was planning with Erica, particularly those around Fiordland routes and overseas. I internally valued that this gentle yet strong man was encouraging my sister to blossom into a vibrant, confident, happy woman with a hobby and job that she loved and thrived in.

When I initially shifted to Christchurch, I saw a lot less of Gottlieb. However most precious to me at this time was when Gottlieb shared his concern about Erica's emotional wellbeing as her relationship with Andre disintegrated. I so much appreciated his support to Erica during this time, knowing that she so much needed nurturing at this difficult time of her life. Anne, thanks also to you for all your love towards Erica when she needed it the most.

When I shifted to Christchurch, I was finally able to attend Gottlieb's photographic presentations and enjoyed every display. I became one of Gottlieb's "groupies" and a behind-the-scene advertiser with friends and work colleagues, encouraging everyone to attend a "night to be remembered". This is because of Gottlieb's amazing skill with capturing stunning photos (of his feats and of our stunning environment) and his thoroughly enjoyable commentary - a fascinating combination of dry wit, pointed political "digs", social insights, and fabulous general knowledge about the natural environment.

When Erica died, Gottlieb became our family's lifeline in so many ways......Shielding us from the media while we were in shock and grief (even though he was suffering the same); Trying sooooooooo hard to understand what happened up the mountain that day; Taking Ashley's research and then experimenting further with Lincoln University and on snowslopes to identify the limitations of short-roping on smooth snow slopes; Setting out to persuade the slow-changing NZMGA about the urgent need to change; And making a difference to the safety of guides and clients world-wide with his face-to-face presentations, articles, and web information about his research. I became much more at peace about Erica's death knowing that Gottlieb worked with so much commitment and passion trying to prevent any more unnecessary deaths. Finally, and probably most emotionally beautiful for us, has been Gottlieb's beautiful sharing of Erica "bits" with our family throughout the past three years, especially Erica photos and his thoughts on Erica's birthday and on March 9 every year. The beautiful photo of Erica was such a precious gift given to us all and is displayed in each Beuzie house. Naming Erica Peak meant so much to us. And then spending time with Gottlieb on Erica Peak and at the hut last January was the icing on the cake. Precious!

I'm seeing Gottlieb's influence with "ordinary" kiwis. I loved reading his articles in The Press. I especially appreciated the way that he cared enough to regularly feed information to the general public about NZ's natural environment, such as changes to our glaciers. His passionate commitment to educating others about our beautiful country was incredibly effective. I talked to a stranger this past weekend who spoke about being guided by Gottlieb over Ball Pass in April this year. This woman, in her fifties, said that Gottlieb had been a most amazing guide, and had inspired her so much that she had changed her lifestyle and goals. She said that he had changed her life.

More recently, I have come to especially treasure Gottlieb's commitment to making NZ a better place for future generations by protecting our special places. Gottlieb continually persevered to fight the hard battles on behalf of the rest of us. There are so many examples of this, including the grazing of DOC land, the protection of some of our airspaces from helicopters, and the injustice of the more recent land deals with high-country farmers. Gottlieb was proactive at a national level, and made such a difference to the protection of our natural environment. I am in complete awe that one man's love for our beautiful country could have such a direct influence in making NZ a better place for our future generations. What a legacy. This is the mark of a truly remarkable man. Gottlieb made a real difference to our world.


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