Peter Munro's Tribute

On behalf of Mackenzie College and the Mackenzie College Outdoor Pursuits program.


This tribute is to acknowledge Gottlieb's contribution to Mackenzie College, and especially the Outdoor Pursuits class. But also to him as a man, a conservationist, and a father.

My first association with Gottlieb was at a public meeting when the college proposed to set up the Outdoor Pursuits course. He spoke passionately about value of outdoor education for young New Zealanders. He backed that up by pledging his support for the course and offered sponsorship from his company Alpine Recreation. That was 15 years ago and yes every year since he has guided and provided trips over Ball Pass and ski touring trips in the Two Thumb Range for Mackenzie College students, not just OPs but other senior students and even a staff trip. For all, a special highlight.

Over that time I got to know him as a friend and a family man. He was a leader and role model. He lead by example and by deed and was tireless in the pursuit of what he believed, sometimes dogmatic and determined, but always considerate. He had great integrity and strong values, A feature was his love of nature and the environment. He campaigned strongly to preserve the wilderness and was concerned about man's impact on the environment, eg. on the Playing Fields a high plateau on the Hooker side of Ball Pass. He would say to the students "don’t walk on my babies" (referring to the fragile cushion and alpine plants in that mountain environment).

He recognised quality in things for what they were and not what he could get out of them. He was prepared to work hard to get things right, he turned ideas into reality, he was a doer and got things done.

Gottlieb was an intelligent man who valued education. Mackenzie College always appreciated Gottlieb and Anne's encouragement and were grateful for the loyalty they showed the local college. There was never a negative word only positive support. Both Elke and Carla excelled at school and have grown up to be fine individuals. There is something very special about both girls, they show great qualities, like determination and perseverence, and they know that nothing is gained without hard work. Attitudes they obviously gained from Gottlieb and Anne. An amazing family.

The opportunity for students to rub shoulders and share experiences with Gottlieb was immense. His genuine respect for the environment and his obvious love of adventure and the mountains was inspiring for these young New Zealanders.

Gottlieb didn’t suffer fools, he was interested in people who were interested in life. He had a calm demeanour and was always responsive to the group he was guiding. He would happily play cards, relate stories and share his wisdom and knowledge. He passed on his belief that if you attend to the little things, the details, only then do you get things completely right.

The recent outdoor education tragedy in the central north island was only a week before this years trip over Ball Pass. Gottlieb wanted on that trip to reinforce the positive aspects of young people being in the outdoors, facing challenges and being out of their comfort zone. They need to face some risks in life he said, stick to the basics and attend to the detail and that risk is reduced to an acceptable level.

This has been a tragic loss for his family, and the Mackenzie it is so cruel to have Gottlieb taken when he still had so much to offer. He was a fine New Zealander and be assured in the fact that he made New Zealand a better place for his presence. I’m proud of our association over those 15 years and I’m proud to say he was a friend. I’m sure his legacy will be continued by his family and friends.


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