Donald MacFarlane - Royal New Zealand Signals
 
 
Served with 249 Signal Squadron (FARELF) 1966 to 1968
 
 
 
     
 

The following was taken from the Rotorua Daily Post dated February 22nd 2016

 
  With the death of Tamakore Donald (Don) MacFarlane, Rotorua has lost an officer and a gentleman.

Mr MacFarlane, 78, was one of the first "homegrown" army officers to rise to the rank of colonel and one of the first officers with Maori blood to train at the Canberra-based Duntroon Royal Military College.

Born in Rotorua of Ngati Wahiao descent, he was educated at Whakarewarewa Primary and the then-Rotorua High School, captaining the first XV, playing in the first XI, boxing and excelling at athletics.

He earned his first pocket money at age 9 caddying at the Arikikapakapa golf course where, in recent years, he played regularly and served on the committee.

Graduating from Duntroon as a lieutenant his distinguished military career included two years as aide de camp to Defence Force chief General Sir Leonard Thornton.

Seconded to the British Army in Singapore he was decorated for his involvement in jungle warfare.

A company commander in the latter stages of the Vietnam War he subsequently spent time at Indonesia's Bandung Military College becoming a qualified interpreter of that country's language.

Five years as New Zealand's military attache in Jakarta followed. Promoted to the rank of colonel he commanded the Army's Task Force One until his retirement in 1983.

He and his wife Helen, an Australian army officer's daughter, opened Poppy's, Rotorua's first fine-dining restaurant which they ran for 18 years. The couple also ran the Incas and Legends cafes.

Mr MacFarlane served on the board of Waiariki Institute and iwi trusts, and was a member of the Rotary Club of Rotorua leading youth-orientated programmes. He was also active in the Rotorua RSA. He became politically active, campaigning at local and central government level. Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick described him as a "true gentleman, part of the very fabric of our city".

MP Todd McClay paid tribute to him as "a lovely man very generous with his time".

To his family he was a person who believed passionately in loyalty, instilling very strong values in them.

Mr MacFarlane is survived by his wife Helen, sons Warwick and Christopher, daughter Tiffany and eight grandchildren.