17 July 2010

Gordon Henry Sawtell (1929-2010)

Gordon with Maria Henderson & Mr and Mrs Tamaiva at CILAMS xmas Council do 2009, at Tamarind House
Gordon with friends M/M Viti in Atiu, June, 2009

Gordon came from a large family in Bognor Regis in Sussex, UK, where his parents were gentleman farmers. He was born there on 13 October 1929.
He moved to New Zealand after having travelled and worked in France, Tripoli (1948-9), and Durban (1950-54), and became a NZ resident in 1954.
Before moving to New Zealand Gordon served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (service no 21066879).
He was an industrial nurse at Tokoroa, NZ, for a brief time in the early 1960s. From 1962-70 he worked for the Department of Justice - Penal Services.
In 1970 he moved to the Cook Islands and transferred to the Cook Islands Public Service where he was Prison Advisory Officer.
In 1971 was the Resident Agent at Atiu.
He worked in the Prime Minister’s Office from 1972-78; in 1979 he became chief Protocol Officer for the Cook Islands government.
He retired on medical grounds in 1982.
Gordon was an active member of the community serving many non-profit organisations over the years, including the Crippled Childrens’ Society, Returned Servicemen’s Association (where he was vice president twice) and the Cook Islands Library and Museum Society (where he was beginning his second term as president). Gordon was also the sole trustee and administrator of a trust, which administered the funds to maintain the graves of former cancer patients buried at Nikao near the RSA. Gordon gave his surname to the kopeka or Atiu Swiftlet (Aerodramus sawtelli) after reporting its existence to David Holyoak of a British ornithological society (and author of the publication sponsored by CILAMS, Guide to Cook Islands Birds).
Gordon is survived by his two daughters, Atina and Lorna, and a son, Monga.

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