Newspaper Article 1995 – Farmer John Chambers dies, 86

Farmer John Chambers dies, 86

One of Hawke’s Bay’s most distinguished farming sons, John Chambers, died yesterday at his home, Morea, aged 86.

Mr Chambers, also known as Jack, was the last surviving grandson of one of the region’s pioneer farmers, John Chambers of Te Mata.

Mr Chambers was remembered yesterday by lifelong friend and former Hastings solicitor, Penn Scannell, as a gentle and caring man.

“I know he’s gone now and one’s inclined to say nice things about people then, but he was liked and admired by everyone who knew him,” Mr Scannell said.

“He was, well, everything that was nice in a man . . . a damn good citizen.”

The son of Thomas “Mason” Chambers and his wife Margaret, of Tauroa Station, Havelock North, Mr Chambers was educated at Heretaunga (now Hereworth), Wanganui Collegiate and Oxford University where he graduated with a BA in forestry.

He served with the 22nd Battallion [Battalion] in Italy where he was mentioned in dispatches for his work with military intelligence.

In 1931, on the day of the disastrous Hawke’s Bay earthquake he married the late Molly Donnelly and the couple farmed Morea Station in the Tukituki Valley all their lives.

Mr Chambers had a long involvement with community affairs. He was a Williams and Kettle director from 1964 to 1977, a director of Hawke’s Bay Newspapers for 32 years from 1946 to 1978 including a period as chairman, president of the Hawke’s Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society from 1962-64 and a committee member for 47 years, chairman of the Woodford House board from 1971-74 and board member for 10 years and a Te Mata Peak trust board member from 1946 to 1968.

He was also president of the Hastings Club and despite the wishes of some of his peers was instrumental in getting membership of the club for women approved.

Mr Chambers was less well known for his work with Alcoholics Anonymous and his devotion to family matters.

From 1969 till it was sold in 1973, he was chairman of the board of the family’s sprawling Mangaohane Station in the Taihape hinterland and he also supervised Matarau Station inland from East Cape.

Bill Shaw, a friend of Mr Chamber’s son, Johnny, who was killed in a car accident on 1964, said he remembers Mr Chambers as someone who remembered everyone else’s needs before his own.

“When his own son was killed and his world was collapsing around him he arrived in the middle of the night asking if I needed anything.

“He was a gentleman, the model of man I’d like to emulate. He travelled all over the country helping people through Alcoholics Anonymous, at no small inconvenience to himself.

“He had a common touch for a man with the empire I suppose he influenced or was in control of . . . Mangaohane, Matarau, Mokopeka and all the Chambers properties he was connected with around here.

“He had an amazing ability to soak up disappointment and set his mind to solving people’s problems,” Mr Shaw said.

“He was an amazing all-rounder . . . the last Chambers of his generation.”

Mr Chambers funeral is at Havelock North’s St Luke’s Church on Thursday at 2pm.

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Newspaper article

Date published

3 June 1995


The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


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