28 Mar 2023
Kei te Rangatira, moe mai rā - Murray passed away recently after a brief illness.
From a Creative New Zealand perspective, Murray first came into our world in the wake of the Labour Party coming to power and the Cultural Recovery Package in 1999 which was an early and visible commitment led by Hon Helen Clark, and well advanced by her administration while in opposition. The whole package was implemented in six months. Murray had known PM Clark for a number of years.
Murray came to us as an Arts Council board member in the 2000/01 year and was our Chair from 2001/02 – 2003/04.
At his best Murray was an insightful and incisive member with a clear passion and knowledge of the arts. He was also knowledgeable about governance and had at one time been involved in an opera ‘off Broadway’, which is a good example of walking the talk. In fact, Murray had a wide interest in the arts and was a collector, and a lover of opera and in particular classical music. He was a ‘concert FM’ on the car radio kind of chap.
Murray had business interests in Auckland but returned to his hometown of Christchurch and was a trustee of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO). He then shifted seats to the General Manager role. His time at the orchestra was notable for growing the artistic programme including a significant commitment to performing and commissioning New Zealand repertoire and together with the CSO Foundation, establishing the fundraising programme that resulted in a permanent, purpose-built facility for the orchestra. Murray also served with NZ on Air as a Board member for a term and was similarly renowned for his intelligence and broad knowledge.
Murray took his interest in philanthropy to a role with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra before returning to Christchurch.
More recently Murray spent some time as a Trustee of New Zealand Opera.
Murray was a man of strong opinions and passions, more unequivocal than equivocal and sometimes this could certainly raise the temperature in the room. That was Murray. He could also be extremely thoughtful and smart. Whatever zone he was in, what was enduringly true was his deep and genuine interest and affection for the arts and practitioners of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Those who knew Murray won’t be surprised to hear that he gave some detailed thoughts to the arrangements that would follow his passing. Given the importance of these centres as Murray’s home, and at the core of his working and social life, it follows that there will be a funeral at 1pm at St Matthew’s in the City, in Auckland on Thursday, and later, at a time yet to be announced there will be a memorial service in Christchurch
He kokonga ewhare e kitea, he kokonga ngākau e kore e kitea
The turns (corners) of a house are seen, but the turns of a house are unseen