The late Bunny and John Mortimer at Taitua Arboretum in 2015.

Throughout their lifetimes, Bunny and John Mortimer were exceptionally generous and supportive to their community, most notably with their gifting of Taitua Arboretum to the city of Hamilton.

Now, with Bunny’s recent passing at the age of 97, a new example of that generosity has been announced.

Bunny has left a bequest to the Momentum Waikato Community Foundation, a ‘gift in Will’ revealed at its opening. It is a general donation, for investment in the foundation’s core regional endowment fund dedicated to creating ‘A Better Waikato for Everyone, Forever’.

This is in addition to the existing Taitua Fund established by the late Bunny and John with Momentum Waikato in 2015. That is a public-facing fund that accepts donations to support the improvement of the Taitua Arboretum, including from those who have wished to mark Bunny’s passing by supporting her life’s work.    

Momentum’s Bequest Patron Ken Williamson is deeply touched by Bunny’s bequest to the foundation he helped establish.   

“Our community has been blessed by the lives of Bunny and John Mortimer,” says Ken.

“Their service and their selfless philanthropy has made our patch a far better place.

Momentum Waikato Bequest Patron Ken Williamson

“How wonderful Bunny has left Momentum a bequest. I well remember the day when I first visited them in their home to discuss the establishment of a community foundation for our region.

“To then receive their donation, the first made to Momentum by individuals, was uplifting. And for Bunny to plan to support the foundation after she’d left us, is even more uplifting,” says Ken.

Bunny and John’s children have been touched by the depth of public regard for their parents shown since their respective passing – John died in 2018 at the age of 94.

Daughter Prue King provided the following statement on their behalf.

Father was impressed with the Chinese philosophy of planting trees for your grandchildren. As well as being beautiful through the changing seasons, trees are vital for a healthy environment, cleaning streams, proffering shade and feed for stock and helping prevent flooding and erosion. Planting trees is also one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis. 

Our parents were keen to have a green space preserved on the city boundary for families to enjoy, exercising and learning, believing the proverb 'They who plant trees, knowing they will never sit in their shade, have at least started to understand the meaning of life'. 

Throughout his life Father was a firm believer in having your financial affairs in order and he certainly did. 

As the end of Mum's life became closer, she felt she could yet do more for the community and the environment, although she and Father had already gifted Taitua Arboretum to the city.

Mum had always said how she'd been lucky in life, and she wanted somehow to share this good luck with the people of her birthplace, Hamilton, and the Waikato. By bequeathing more to Momentum Waikato, the fruit of Mum and Father's labour, commitment and generosity will live on forever.

There are nine of us off-spring in the family and I think our folks felt divvying up with another major beneficiary wouldn't make much difference to what we individually inherited.

Mum and Father were early supporters of Momentum and had always encouraged others to get on board. They believed that if 10 people donated - or 100, or 1000 - what a legacy that would be. Even the smallest amount from one individual when combined with others' bequests adds up and makes a tremendous difference to the work Momentum can do in the community. Everybody benefits. 

Mum always said you don't live forever and you can't take it with you. Our entire family is so proud of her generosity.

Momentum Waikato Community Foundation is honoured to be entrusted with the care of Bunny Mortimer’s bequest and pledge to ensure it works forever for the benefit of her and John’s city, region and community.

September is Wills Month, New Zealand’s annual date to create or review a Will.

A bequest in your Will to your local community foundation is a great way to create a legacy that will support the region and community that have enabled your success in life.

Find out more about Wills Month, including an opportunity to make it easier to create a Will.