Our People

Board Members:

Iain MacKenzie (Past President)

Iain MacKenzie was born and educated in Scotland. After graduate and post graduate degrees in economics, commerce and management from the Universities of Strathclyde and London he was invited to participate in a University of Manchester research project measuring management efficiency in large scale organisations and this led to a career in the electronic industry with Philips in the Netherlands.  In 1977 he came to New Zealand  where he has held senior management and Chief Executive positions. He was General Manager of Philips and Pye Consumer Products and then subsequently Chief Executive of Sanyo New Zealand. After the electronics industry in New Zealand was deregulated he purchased the executive recruitment company Farrow Jamieson and was Managing Director of this company until he retired.

He was Honorary Consul for Belgium from 2000 until 2009 and in that year was responsible for organising the visit of the travelling exhibition “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten” to Auckland. The commemoration activities built around the exhibition created a great deal of public recognition about Passchendaele and “The Forgotten War” on the Western Front during the First World War and Iain was subsequently elected President of the Passchendaele Society on its formation in March 2011. In 2012 he was made a Knight in the Order of the Crown of the Kingdom of Belgium.

He is also President of the Rotary Club of Newmarket and a Trustee of the Motutapu Restoration Trust and the Fields of  Remembrance Trust.

Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Chris Mullane ONZM, MBE, JP (Past Vice-President)

Chris brings to the Passchendaele Society Board a wide variety of relevant life experiences and skills from his military service, his many years in business, his strong interest in history and his continuing involvement in commemorations projects. A graduate of the Royal Military College of Australia, Chris served twenty two years in the New Zealand Army including active service in Vietnam as an infantry platoon commander. In his business career he has held senior management appointments in manufacturing, construction, media and professional services companies and founded a business consulting practice focusing on strategic planning & development. Chris now contributes his skills to diverse activities in the community and in particular to championing the cause of veterans and their families who have served New Zealand. He is a director or trustee of a number of veteran associations and support organizations and a former National Vice President of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association.

Bob Davis (President and Honorary Secretary)

Bob Davis is also International Vice-President of The International Military Music Society and it was through his interest in military bands that he first came into contact with the Passchendaele story in 2007.   Bob emigrated from the UK in 2002, and became an NZ Citizen in 2008.  His particular forte is as an organiser and MC/compere of commemorations, ceremonials, concerts and band events, also as a tour manager and speaker.  He has travelled widely, visiting some 56 countries worldwide, including Belgium and Passchendaele and the Flanders region twice, in 2010 and 2012.

Mike Hartley (Honorary Treasurer)

Owner of Small Business Accounting, Newmarket, Auckland.   Full member of the Accountants and Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand.   Master of Business Administration (Auckland), Graduate Diploma of Business Administration (Auckland).  Previously General Manager and Part Owner of Crediflex NZ Ltd.   24 years involved with commercial finance – senior management roles in sales and credit management.


Lode Notredame (Vice President and E-News Editor)

Lode is a co-founder of the Passchendaele Society and is also responsible for the Historic Sites portfolio. This includes both monuments here in New Zealand as well as in Belgium. Lode has been self-employed since 1990 when he started Quasimodo Tours in Belgium taking English speaking people on day trips around Flanders Fields. He conducted guided tours for 15 years to the battlefields of WW1 in Flanders, Belgium as he grew up in Passendale (Passchendaele). He also took people on guided tours around Bruges to show the medieval history of Flanders. In 2004 Lode immigrated to New Zealand together with his New Zealand wife and children. He currently conducts private chauffeur driven tours around New Zealand for Amazing New Zealand Itineraries.

 Ken Young (Past Director of Commemorations)

My professional life has primarily been spent in teaching, social services and tourism. A short time in the army engendered an interest in military history, an area in which I have studied and read widely. This complements a love of history in general, and I’m in my element visiting archaeological sites and museums worldwide.
A personal crusade is to visit areas and war graves where New Zealanders fought and died. This has taken me to Crete, Greece, Italy, Gallipoli twice for ANZAC Day, the Somme and Flanders battlefields, including Ieper and Passchendaele. I have also visited many of  US Civil War battlefields, Normandy beaches and in February this year, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My interest in brass band music includes membership of the International Military Music Society, past President, Vice Patron and current committee member of Waitakere Auckland Brass. I’m also a board member of the Waitakere Orchestra. I’m a committee member of The Auckland Officers’Club and a member of The Northern Club. Importantly, I’m an inaugural Board Member of The Passchendaele Society responsible for Commemorations and a strong advocate of the tenets of this Society.

Greg Hall (Director of Communications)

Greg Hall is a Devonport based Financial Adviser and Writer. After many years in the financial services industry, Greg changed direction in order to pursue his passion for writing. His first novel ‘Good Sons’ was published in April 2017. It is a work of historical fiction tracing three young men from Oamaru caught up in the chaos of the First World War. The novel follows the protagonist, Frank Wilson from school days to enlisting in the Otago Regiment, training and then into action from Messines to Passchendaele.

Greg is Communications Director of the Passchendaele Society and will be visiting the Flanders battlefields in September of 2017.

 Karen Morris (Board Member)

I have grown up in Auckland and always had a interest in history and family trees.  As a young child I met an old uncle (grandfathers brother) who talked about his twin brothers going to WWI, one of them (Thomas Morris) was killed at the Battle of Broodseinde on the 4/10/17.  This always stayed with me, probably because 4th October was my birthday. However my family were largely pacifists so this never came up again until I was travelling to London around ANZAC Day and decided it would be more appropriate to go to Belgium. This was in 2013 when along with my partner (Joe Shelford-Tuki) we did a four day trip to Belgium and the battlefields. We also went to my uncle’s grave at Nine Elms British Cemetery in Poperinghe.

My partner and I have also travelled around Europe, following the footsteps of our soldiers, mainly WWII. We have followed their paths in Italy from Monte Cassino to Trieste, visiting the battlefields and the cemeteries. We also travelled to Greece and Crete for the 70th and 75th commemorations, again following their footsteps up to Mount Olympus. Like all New Zealanders, I have many family members who have served. My other grandfather’s brother was in Bomber Command in WWII.

I am the Secretary for the 28 Maori Battalion Association-Auckland and spend much time visiting and taking out our old soldiers and of course their wives and widows.  More and more it is widows nowadays.  We spend most of our free time visiting or arranging functions where they can meet up with old friends.  Joe and I have helped arrange a reunion for the veterans and I researched and prepared 2 reunion books, one of the greatest privileges of our lives.  We have also helped with TV documentaries, one on Joe’ Grandfather and the other one with Sir Tony Robinson. This October 2017 we are excited to be returning to Belgium and Passchendaele to not only remember my Uncle but all of those who sacrificed so much for future generations.

Major John Liddell, psc, MPhil, BA, BComp, Dip PysEd. – Executive Officer, 3/6 Battalion RNZIR is an ex-officio (additional) Board Member

John is currently the Executive Officer of 3/6 Battalion RNZIR based in Auckland. John joined the Territorial Force in 1975 whilst at university.  After completing studies he spent 8 years in various business appointments in Auckland.  He accepted a Regular Force commission in 1985 and has remained in the NZ Army since that time. He has operational service in with the UN in Croatia and the UNMAC in Korea.  He also serves on the Board of the 3rd Auckland Regimental Association,  the Mt Albert Grammar Foundation and Board of Trustees.

Glyn Harper QSM Historical Advisor to the Passchendaele Society

Glyn Harper is Professor of War Studies at Massey University and was Director of its Centre for Defence and Security Studies for eight years. He is now General Editor of the Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War. A former teacher, he joined the Australian Army in 1988 and after eight years transferred to the New Zealand Army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was the army’s official historian of the deployment to East Timor, and is the author of 19 books, many of which have achieved best seller status. Seven of these are children’s books. Some of his books include: ’Massacre at Passchendaele: the New Zealand story’ ; ’Spring Offensive: New Zealand and the Second Battle of the Somme’; ‘Dark Journey’; ‘Letters from Gallipoli: New Zealand Soldiers Write Home’ and his latest (a children’s book) ‘Le Quesnoy: The story of the town New Zealand saved’.

Youth Ambassadors:

2017 Dylan Woodhouse (Board Member)

I was first involved with the Passchendaele Society after winning a competition for New Zealand Secondary School students, funded by Student Horizons, the Passchendaele Society, Fields of Remembrance Trust and Ministry of Education; the prize was a trip to the Western Front and Passchendaele. In a team of other like-minded individuals, I composed an educational resource that was designed to be interactive, informative and engaging to young students about the Battle of Passchendaele: https://bloodandmud.org/

I found it very satisfying to trial this resource with Year 9 students and dispel some of the myths surrounding World War 1 and help enthuse them to adopt an ANZAC and learn their story. By getting our young people to look at the life of a randomly chosen ANZAC, they quickly learned that all those that died in the war were more than figures and statistics, they left widowed wives and broken communities.

In Belgium it is safe to say that the history of the Great War is written into the landscape. In the craters, monuments, bunkers and cemeteries–the memory of the Great War lives on there now as ever. Standing where thousands of people had lived, fought and died 100 years ago was a poignant experience and I am very thankful to those that gave me the chance to be there. The trip to Belgium was an incredible experience and I am determined not to make it a, ‘once in a lifetime experience,’ only. The remembrance of our fallen soldiers must continue past the centennials and into the future and I am committed to help be a part of that.

My Great Great Grandfather, Edward “Ted” Cartwright, fought during the battle of Passchendaele in the Northumberland Fusiliers. Some of the stories he told have been passed down through our family and remind us of our connection to the war. Much of my family fought in the wars, though not all in Flanders. We still have many of their medals and badges and they remain treasured heirlooms.

I currently attend St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton and am in my final year there. During my student life I have studied mainly literary based subjects with a profound fascination with the Great War. I find the human element of the conflict the most compelling. It is greatly interesting to try to see into the past and into the minds of the soldiers that were trapped in a cycle of unimaginable horror. Perhaps one of the most enduring reasons World War 1, is remembered to this day, is the thought given to imagining ourselves in their boots. To picture what they went through and to try to understand how, in the face of overwhelming carnage, they endured. I am very appreciative of the honour of becoming a Youth Ambassador in the Passchendaele Society and I look forward to lending a hand with the Society’s projects in the future.

2017 Neakiry Kivi

Neakiry is currently the Deputy Head Girl of Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington. Next year, she plans to attend Otago University to study First Year Health Sciences and hopes to pursue a career in Medicine. She has a love of all things music and has been involved in many choirs, orchestra, production, as well as debating. For the last 10 years, she has also been an avid netball player.

“Music is deeply embedded within our culture. It is an art that celebrates and mourns alongside us. Even through war, songs can lift spirits or bring about feelings of nostalgia. The feelings, images, and melodies evoked from pieces of the past, present and future, allow us to remember those who fought amidst the slaughter of World War 1. Music will endure through time, and the memories of our soldiers should as well. I composed piece for solo piano with a poem to accompany. Titled ‘Scenes from Passchendaele,’ I aimed to illustrate, but not glorify or romanticise, what our soldiers may have experienced 100 years ago.

I was incredibly grateful to be selected as a New Zealand Youth Ambassador to attend centenary commemorations in Belgium this year. In the future, I hope to motivate and inspire more young people to become more actively involved in our history.”

2016 Mina Bixley

Though local to Taupo, Mina Bixley has made the big move to the windy capital city to study English Literature and Film at Victoria University of Wellington. A keen writer and artist, her winning entry in 2016’s multimedia competition combined a narrated essay with drawings to bring a personal perspective to the Battle of Passchendaele.

“Before we can comprehend the significance of Passchendaele, we must first understand what happened on a personal scale. And who am I to tell the stories of the dead? I’ll let them speak for themselves.” That was the driving philosophy behind my entry. I feel that those who suffered deserve more recognition than being labelled as part of a glorious sacrifice. Growing up learning about the war every year in school makes the topic somewhat stale, so I wanted to offer something different. I thought to myself, if I had been in the Battle of Passchendaele, what might I want someone to say about me in a hundred years’ time? My entry was an attempt to capture the diverse, individual experiences that make up history, making the past relatable.

I was both immensely proud and honoured to be selected to be a member of the 2017 Youth Delegation, and I’m excited for the trip ahead. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.

2015 Portia Baine

Portia has just finished her final year of high school at Sacred Heart Girls’ College Hamilton, and plans to study towards a Bachelor of Laws at Victoria University, beginning in 2016. She has a range of interests including debating, equestrian, music, writing and general history – the latter two prompting her to become involved in the competition ‘Why should we remember Passchendaele?’ with the entry of her poem, entitled ‘Passchendaele’.

Before entering the competition my knowledge of the Battle of Passchendaele was limited at best, much like many people my age. However, through entering the competition and the researching which preceded that, I came to understand exactly how important this battle was to New Zealand’s history and became astonished not only with the general lack of knowledge surrounding it, but also my own lack of knowledge.This prompted me to explore my own family’s involvement in the war, resulting in discovery and restoration of my family’s medals. Attending the commemoration was a great honour for me, and from that I look forward to future involvement with the Passchendaele society in my role as a youth ambassador.

2014 Siobhan Lenehan

Siobhan is in her first year at the University of Auckland studying engineering. She was the 2014 winner of the multimedia competition with her video investigating “Why don’t we remember Passchendaele?”

I enjoyed the challenge of entering the Passchendaele Multimedia competition and learn more about the Battle of Passchendaele. From a history perspective, I was intrigued to consider why the Battle of Passchendaele does not have a higher profile amongst New Zealanders. As part of my entry I researched the number of newspaper mentions of Passchendaele and was surprised to find even in 1917 Gallipoli was mentioned more than Passchendaele. I also found the experience of finding out more about the Battle of Passchendale rewarding because led to discussions with relatives about our family’s participation in the First World War.

2013 James Costello Ladanyi

I am honoured to be one of the Passchendaele Society Youth Ambassadors as a result of having won the 2013 Veterans Affairs Multimedia Competition. I am a 19 year old born and bred Wellingtonian, currently studying Theatre and History at Victoria University. Next year I am travelling to Los Angeles where I will spend the first six months of 2016 on a student exchange to the University of California Los Angeles. In April this year I was incredibly lucky to be one of the 25 New Zealand Youth Ambassadors selected to travel to Gallipoli for the centenary commemorations. On this once in a lifetime trip we were privileged to see and experience the Gallipoli terrain, pay our respects at a number of the memorial sites on the Peninsula and be present at both the Anzac Day dawn service and the New Zealand service at Chunuk Bair. My interest in New Zealand’s World War One history was certainly invigorated as a result of this trip, which of course only happened because of the Passchendaele Society!

James won the 2013 Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs Competition “Why Don’t We Remember The Battle of Passchendaele?”  with his entry “Passchendaele October 12th 1917 – Forever in Gallipoli’s Shadow?”

2012 Nathan Garry 

Nathan Garry is currently in his final year studying Mechatronics for the Bachelor of Engineering with honours at the University of Canterbury. During 2016 he will be involved as a part of the ENSOC committee, the largest university club in New Zealand. He is interested in sport particularly tennis, squash, karate, scuba-diving, and spends a considerable amount of time tramping with his family in the hills of Central Otago. Engineering has always been his passion; however he has always had a strong interest in local and family history.

The opportunity to attend the Commemoration on 95th Anniversary of The Battle of Passchendaele was both an honour and a privilege. I would like to extend my thanks to all members of the Passchendaele Society that made this competition possible. I have gained from this experience in many ways. The encouragement of the competition gave me the motivation to delve into my past, through the research I gained an insight into not only the lives of those directly related to me but a better appreciation of how this tragedy affected communities around the country.

Nathan won the  2012 Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs  Competition  “Why Don’t We Remember The Battle of Passchendaele?”  with his entry “The Boys of Upper Junction”

2011 Eve Bain

Eve is in her first of year at Victoria University of Wellington, where she is studying Law, International Relations, and French. Eve is interested in diplomacy and international affairs, and this drove her interest in learning more about the devastating conflicts of the twentieth century, and the role played by New Zealand. Following the inaugural competition, Eve has become the first Youth Representative to the New Zealand Passchendaele Society. Eve is also involved in United Nations Youth New Zealand.

 I have found the entire experience fulfilling on a number of levels. I did not just want to write another academic essay, and the flexibility of the multimedia competition encouraged me to think outside the square. Writing from fictional perspectives and from a variety of time periods meant that I engaged in the research, and submitted my entry humbled by what I had found. The competition was a formative experience for me and I would strongly encourage any dedicated student to take up the challenge. Not only did I have the opportunity to deliver a speech in front of Ministers and other dignitaries and attend other ceremonies, my involvement did not end with winning the competition, and I am looking forward to working with the Society and other interested young people in the future.

Eve won the inaugural 2011 Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs  Competition  “Why Don’t We Remember The Battle of Passchendaele?”  with this entry.