Momentum Waikato is saddened by the passing of John Mortimer, one of our foundational supporters, who died on Thursday, 24 May 2018, aged 94.

We express our deepest condolences to Bunny and her family. John was deeply passionate about nature and conservation and a true philanthropist. With Bunny, he has created a lasting legacy for the future of Hamilton and the Waikato.

Read Momentum Waikato’s media release acknowledging John’s passing.

Here is their Giving Story…

John and Bunny Mortimer recently made a financial decision that will have an effect on the Waikato forever. Their desire to share nature with others long past their own lifetimes led them to Momentum Waikato Community Foundation, knowing it was a way they could support their favourite charities in exactly the way they chose. Environmental philanthropy has always been important to them both, and they have served in leadership roles on local and national levels in support of the environment and its preservation. The two dendrologists have had a love for trees for decades, co-authoring books about them, becoming heavily involved in New Zealand’s Farm Forestry Association, and also fashioning Bunny’s 50-acre family paddock into a relaxing, shaded arboretum that is open to, and is now loved by our community.

They both spent years collecting over 1,500 types of seeds and cuttings from all across New Zealand, China, America and Australia, nurturing their growth then planting their rare and sometimes exotic selection of trees and shrubs to create what we all know today as Hamilton’s wooded wonderland Taitua Arboretum.

The Mortimers chose to gift Taitua Arboretum to the city of Hamilton in 1997 as a means of ensuring it would be cared for and enjoyed by generations of families. The city council successfully maintains the park, but John and Bunny had been searching for a way to ensure the arboretum could continue to be developed in perpetuity.

Setting up a perpetual fund through Momentum Waikato, John and Bunny have peace of mind that Taitua Arboretum will receive 100% distribution from their perpetual fund year after year, and their $100,000 will continue to grow in perpetuity thanks to careful investment from Craigs Investment Partners and Forsyth Barr, Momentum Waikato’s investment partners. Other charities receiving direct gifts from the Mortimers through the Foundation are the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, the New Zealand Native Forest Restoration Trust, Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, Tane’s Tree Trust and the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.