Citation speech notes, 4 May 2018
Presented by XŌtaki Trustee, Peter Northern from written material provided by Jacqui Pritchard
Hello my name is Peter Northern and I have been given the honour of reading the citation for David Pritchard. This has a personal meaning to me as I worked for David in the early 80s and also David was one of the first students that my father would have taught in the early days of the college. I'm sure if Dad was here tonight he would say something like –“ Pritchard – I cant believe the dog ate your homework again “ !!
It gives me great pleasure to present the following citation for this great man.
David has lived his whole life in Otaki (in fact he’s almost considered a local now) and in that time he’s been both community-minded and a great advocate of the town, its people and the surrounding district.
David and his lovely wife Jacqui have raised four children– Sam, Alice, John and Sophie. David’s put much into this town in so many ways, through development, employment and promotion of the area.As an ex Otaki College student,he’s a thoroughly deserving inaugural inductee into the XOtaki Hall of Fame.
Born in 1947 in Otaki, David is the older brother of Stuart, Nigel and Pam,who are all here tonight to help us honour him. The land was clearly in his blood from the beginning, with his Dad David being a market gardener and Mum Lorna a florist.
David attended Otaki Primary School then went on to the newly opened Otaki College and was a student here from 1960 to 1963.
After leaving college he worked on farms in TeHoro, thenon his uncle’s farm up inPutaruru. He came home after his uncle was sadly killed in a car accident. David then went to work for Goodmans,picking up the requisite skills to drive bulldozers and scrapers in Wellington and Paraparaumu.
David’s entrepreneurial career began in 1966,when he, Stuart and David senior leased and worked several farms around the Otaki area.They eventually bought a farm at Addington Road just south of Otaki, where they milked 200 cows. Later they bought land in Shannon and diversified into barley and potatoes. Later they sold this farm and bought a farm at Forest Lakes milking cows, farming beef and growing early potatoes.
In 1981 they diversified more into horticulture and put a 50 acre block on Addington Road into berryfruit, apples, pears and apricots. They built a packhouse to process fruit for other growers as well as their own, and employed dozens of workers. They also started a management company developing horticulture blocks for investment groups.
This was my introduction to David when I worked for Willow Park Group in 81-82.
David was the sort of boss that earned respect rather than demanded it – he was firm but fair and would kick your butt in the morning then shout you a beer in the afternoon.
The work included developing berryfruit and kiwifruit blocks for the Queen Street farmers –spraying, maintaining and harvesting berryfruit (this had to be done at night due to the soft nature of the fruit,though I’m sure some of the neighbours thought we did it just to wind them up).
Part of developing some of these blocks meant removing stumps to prepare the ground for planting. If I remember correctly, David,you seemed to have a fascination with dynamite and your attitude seemed to be “why dig it out when you can blow it up!”.I remember one particular day at the block in School Road,TeHoro, with David giving me a lesson on blowing up stumps holding two fuses in his hand and saying “one of these burns really fast and one really slow – cant remember which is which!” He shrugged his shoulders and lit the fuse.Of courseI ran, much to David’s amusement.He knew exactly what he was doingbut thought it would be fun to scare the life out of me!
The work was varied and often tough, but as often happens when you’re around passionate people it tends to rub off.Those couple of years set me on a path in the horticulture industry where I remain to this day.
In the late 1980s, after the sharemarket crash, David and Stuart subdivided the Waitohu farm. This was a brave move for the times, butshows what progressive forward-thinkers David and Stuart were. This venture proved so successful that they went on to build up a company to specialise in subdivision work. The company grew quickly and meant they needed to employ extra expertise to keep up with the growth.
The company ultimately went on to develop residential and lifestyle blocks from Raumati to Northland and anywhere in between. David was also involved in subdivisions in Queenstown and Coromandel.
David had the opportunity through his contacts and travels to meet and introduce the wealthy American Julian Robertson to both the land in the Bay of Islands where he built the world-famous Kauri Cliffs golf course, as well as the land in Hawke’s Bay where Julian developed the Cape Kidnappers course.
David’s desire to see other people succeed saw him take a role on the Kapiti Enterprise Trust, which was designed to encourage and build business interests on the Kapiti Coast. David was very active in the Young Farmers in the 60s and took a strong role in the organising and running of the paraplegic camps at Bridge Lodge.
Over the years David has held many roles on many boards and has achieved some amazing things during that time.
Some are especially worth noting:
- NZ Horticulture Export Authority – promoting sector groups such as squash, asparagus and summerfruit.
- NZ Rural Properties, which owned and managed a number of farms throughout the country.
- Wellington International Airport board, where he was director for 9 years (during his tenure the new International terminal was built).
- Housing New Zealand board (director for 6 years), he chaired the committee for the acquisition and disposal of Crown housing.
- Housing Foundation set up by Stephen Tindall to help families get into their first homes.
- Wellington Waterfront board which built Waitangi Park during David’s tenure.
- Board of Port Marlborough based in Blenheim.
- In 2003 David was asked by the accountancy firm Ernst and Young to be a contender in the NZ Entrepreneur of the year and went on to win the category of Contracting and Constuction.
He has supported and employed hundreds of individuals and families in the local community, as well as other areas in New Zealand. He is a strong believer in the Positivity syndrome which he has enthusiastically passed on to many employees over has time. His work on various boards, as well as development of subdivisions, have housed countless people from all walks of life. These years of hard work and service that have benefitted others is a huge legacy David and his family can be extremely proud of.
I think it shows the type of person David is and the passion he has to get things done and follow projects through to the end.
He is incredibly worthy as one of the first awards to recognise the achievements of Otaki College’s ex-students.
Please join me in congratulating David on this honour.
Ladies and gentlemen – David Pritchard.