Our People

Board Members:

Bob Davis (President and Honorary Secretary)

Bob Davis was Chairman of the Establishment Committee of the Society from 2009, and has been Hon Secretary since 2011.   He is also International 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 parades, also as a tour manager and speaker.  He has travelled extensively, visiting over 60 countries worldwide, including Passchendaele and the Flanders region twice, in 2010 and 2012, and hopes to return there in 2019 to visit the new NZ Memorial & Garden.  He shares the determination that the men who died in 1917, those who survived and their families shall never be forgotten.

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.

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.

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.


Sandi Notredame (Board Member)

Sandi has returned to the Board after a few year’s absence, although throughout she remained active in the Society and has developed a passion for researching! Sandi & Lode ran day-trips from Bruges to Flanders Fields during their time in Belgium from 1992 through 2004. Five brothers of her Great Grandfather served in WW1, so it has been an emotional journey researching their experiences…..in particular that of Hector Rhind who survived the Battle of Passchendaele only to die a few months later during the Battle of Polderhoek Chateau! Since returning to New Zealand, she is now a Vacation Coordinator, creating personalised itineraries for tourists coming to New Zealand. Her other interest is field hockey having coached, umpired, played and Managed representative teams throughout her life in both New Zealand and in Belgium.


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 (Director of Commemorations)

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. While in London around ANZAC Day 2013, we decided it would be more appropriate to go to Belgium. So along with my partner (Joe Shelford-Tuki) we did a four day trip to the Flanders battlefields, including visiting my uncle’s grave at Nine Elms British Cemetery in Poperinghe.

My partner and I have also travelled around Europe extensively, following the footsteps of our soldiers (mainly WWII) from Italy (Monte Cassino & Trieste) to Greece and Crete (Mount Olympus). Like all New Zealanders, I have many family members who have served.

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 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’s Grandfather and the other one with Sir Tony Robinson. In October 2017 we returned once more to Belgium and Passchendaele to not only remember my Uncle but all of those who sacrificed so much for future generations.

Dylan Woodhouse (Youth Ambassador, Board Member & Facebook Administrator)

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. In a team of other like-minded individuals in the St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton, we created an educational resource that was designed to be interactive, informative and engaging to young students about the Battle of Passchendaele:  https://bloodandmud.org/

The prize was a trip to the Western Front and Passchendaele.  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. It 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.

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, trying 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.

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 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.”

2017 Amanda Yang

Amanda Yang was one of the VA winners in 2017 in the annual Veterans’ Affairs Battle of Passchendaele multi-media competition – they were unable to decide between two worthy entries so they gave a joint first prize to two recipients for the first time! See Amanda Yang’s poem here:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11866862

Amanda was attending Tauranga Girls’ College at the time but in 2018 began her studies at the University of Auckland.

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 is studying at Victoria University of Wellington in both Law and International Relations. Her involvement with the Passchendaele Society began with her winning poem in the 2015 multimedia competition ‘Why should we remember Passchendaele?’

In a rapidly changing social landscape, it is not often enough that we take the time to look back at our history. Yet, failing to do so means that we lose the profound insight which can be found in the past.  My own involvement in the society, for example, promoted me to explore my own family’s involvement in the war, resulting in the discovery and restoration of my family’s medals. The link between past and future is closer than we think; but as the Passchendale society shows, we must take the time to look. I have been honoured to be a youth ambassador for the society, and look forward to the years to come.  

2014 Siobhan Lenehan

Siobhan was the 2014 winner of the multimedia competition with her video investigating “Why don’t we remember Passchendaele?” She represented the youth of New Zealand at the Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey. Back home, she splits her time between civil engineering and leading adventures with GirlGuiding NZ.

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.

I was privileged to join the New Zealand Defence Force contingent for the Gallipoli centenary commemorations. This broadened my perspective about the conflicts in our past and brought home how they are still relevant today.” 

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.