The trustees represent the survivors and rescuers from Wahine Day.
Their overriding aim is to ensure the story of the Wahine and the lessons learnt from its demise are not lost.
The Trust’s objectives are:
- To facilitate a commemorative 50-year reunion of survivors, rescuers and all others involved in or connected with the Wahine disaster
- To ensure the historical information and material relating to the Wahine disaster is collated and preserved
- To educate the New Zealand public about the Wahine disaster
- To establish a maritime legacy as a memorial to the Wahine disaster
Rhys Jones - Chair
Lieutenant General (Retired) Rhys Jones served in the Army for 35 years, retiring in 2014 as the Chief of the Defence Force. As well as being the Chairman of the Wahine 2018 Charitable Trust, Rhys is a Trustee on the National Military Heritage Charitable Trust, a panel member of the Flag Consideration Panel for the Flag Change Referendum, and a panel member of the Strategic Risk and Resilience Panel which offers advice to senior government officials on the big risk issues facing the country. On 1 July 2017, Rhys was appointed Chief Executive of Fire and Emergency New Zealand, a new organisation comprising the former New Zealand Fire Service, the National Rural Fire Authority, and 38 rural fire districts and territorial authorities. Rhys has strong memories of Wahine Day, and when asked by the trustees to take the role of chairman, was very pleased to bring his expertise to the table.
At 5.30am on 10 April 1968, John started work as usual in his role as a harbour pilot in Wellington. Ten minutes after hearing that the Wahine had struck Barrett Reef, he left Queens Wharf in the pilot launch TIAKINA with other staff. He picked up Senior Pilot Bill Galloway at Seatoun and, once they were able to get alongside the Wahine, Bill scrambled up a lifeboat ladder to give assistance to the captain of the stricken vessel. John then helped tow lifeboats and rafts to Seatoun and rescue people from the water.
Like her husband Rob, Muriel was a Wahine survivor in 1968. She was born in Invercargill into a farming family. After marrying she and Rob farmed together for 10 years in Southland. In 1970, they relocated to Christchurch with their two school-aged daughters, Muriel was fully involved in their lifestyle horticulture block. Later, in Wellington, she was employed by the National Red Cross Society in a receptionist secretarial role for seven years. When she and Rob returned from the United Kingom, she worked for a property management company, again in a receptionist secretarial role. During this time she became involved with administration work for St John’s in the City Presbyterian Church and for the next 20 years this became her main focus.
Robert Ewan, a Wahine survivor in 1968, was born in Invercargill. He grew up in a farming family, married Muriel and continued pastoral farming until 1970. Rob then pursued horticultural interests in Christchurch and in 1975 relocated to Wellington for careers in broadcasting journalism and corporate public relations specialising in the meat export industry. In 1985 he spent a year working in a public relations agency in the United Kingdom. From 1997 to 2014 Rob was in residential property sales. He is now retired and lives with Muriel in Waikanae. Rob is a member of the Presbyterian Church Property Commission.
Doug was a member of the Lincoln College school cricket team travelling north on the Wahine. He was rescued by a fishing trawler after spending nearly three hours in the water. Doug went on to have a career in primary agriculture. He is a former manager of a rural bank and is presently involved in a number of Farm Advisory Boards and a Primary Growth Partnership. Doug has a strong interest in community affairs and is involved in two charitable trusts.
Richard was a founding Trustee and later Chairman of Trustees of Te Omanga Hospice in Lower Hutt, and is very familiar with the charitable trust sector. As a partner in the law firm Gault Mitchell Law in Wellington, Richard is working for the Wahine 50 Charitable Trust on a pro-bono basis. He also has a great personal interest in all things maritime, having been a keen yachtie and fisherman from a very early age. Richard was born in Nelson and educated in Wellington. The law occupies the working part of Richard’s life. His leisure time is spent with family, and yachting and fishing around the Wellington harbour and further afield continues to be a passion.