Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 8 May 2014 Contents LOCAL NEWS
8 May, 2014 | Page 21
Living in a small remote
community has its advantages,
but it can come with a price tag
of isolation and difficult access
to services that those living in big
cities take for granted.
When you experience a tragedy,
lose a loved one or become
terminally ill, who can help you
with the emotional havoc these
situations can stir up? Who can
guide you through the steps
required in these circumstances?
For people living in the Te Anau
area, such a person is Sally
Macdonald, a woman with a huge
heart and loads of compassion.
Sally and David Macdonald ran
the Davaar farm at the foot of the
Takitimu Mountains near The Key
for 40 years. Their three sons,
Dougal, James and William were
born and raised there. Ten years
ago, when their middle son, James
married Fiona, Sally and David
decided to move on and let the
young ones take over the farm,
while they themselves retired to a
beautiful property in Patience Bay,
overlooking Lake Te Anau and the
A close friend describes Sally as
a person who has always been
good fun – the life and soul of a
party, very hospitable, very family
oriented and a keen gardener.
But times had not always been
happy for the Macdonalds. Back
in 1968 the family experienced a
tragedy that forever altered their
lives, when their oldest son died in
a horse riding accident at only six
years of age.
“That was a big knock, and that’s
why I went supporting other
people,” Sally said.
She remembers a well-meaning
person patting her on the shoulder
after her son’s death saying
“Never mind, dear, you are young,
you will have lots more children”.
“They didn’t understand,” she
shakes her head, “I wanted
Seeing the need in the community,
Sally started to provide support
for people distraught due to
bereavement, who had no one
to turn to. She’d visit people and
talk to them, offering solace and
“It’s been rewarding to be able
to help people who are at rock-
bottom. Having had bereavement
in your family, you know how it
feels,” Sally said.
When Ted Loose lost his wife,
Mere, he also went to see Sally.
“It was really helpful to have
someone who understands,”
he said. “I’ve known Sally for a
long time and she’s always been
available as a person to talk to.
She got me to keep a diary and
write my thoughts down, and that
Sally remembers that when the
local funeral director, Ron Palmer
(now living in Christchurch), asked
her to take funerals on his behalf,
some people tried to persuade her
that she shouldn’t be doing this,
that she needs to do something
But she did it anyway, although
she confessed that the most
difficult were the funerals for
When her mother died of cancer,
Sally became involved in the
Cancer Society and later joined
the ranks of volunteers at the
Invercargill hospice for the
terminally ill. Sally has never
regretted doing this and is still
helping people in need, but said
that she never goes to people
unless they ask for it.
In 2010 her outstanding
contribution to Te Anau and the
surrounding community were
recognised, when Sally was
granted the Southland District
Council Community Service Award.
Not long after that she received
the ultimate accolade – the
Queen’s Service Medal. She was
also a recipient of the Rotary Paul
Asked how she felt about all this
acknowledgment Sally admitted
that she was completely shocked
and overwhelmed, but also proud
“I didn’t do it for the recognition
or for money. I just enjoy helping
people,” she said.
A caring shoulder during times of grief
Sally Macdonald at her property in Patience Bay, Te Anau.
“Community Advocate” celebrates
people in our community who go the
extra mile, without fanfare, to make
our communities better.
This is an occasional series but we’re
keen to acknowledge as many of our
community advocates around the entire
region as possible. If you know of someone
who deserves a public pat on the back,
please let us know by calling Kirsty or
Brendan on (03) 249-9070 or emailing
In this issue Alina Suchanski profiles
Sally Macdonald of Te Anau.
Adult catch = 1 deer, 1 pig & 1 trout
Kids catch = 1 possum,1 trout & a hare or rabbit
Venue: Te Anau Rugby Club, Dusky Street Te Anau
Team entry $150 for Adults
Kids go Free
Fiordland Big 3
Queen’s Birthday Weekend 2014
Thursday 29th, Friday 30th May, Saturday 31st & Sunday 1st June
Two Major Prizes of helicopter transfers for 4 people into Fiordland
Total prize pool in excess of $15,000
& a hare or rabbit
usky Street Te Anauu
More info and online entry available at
www.teanauevents.co.nz and also at
Fiordland Frontier Supplies 1 The Lane Te Anau
Enquiries ph 021 085 22329
email firstname.lastname@example.org Proceeds to
Te Anau & Mararoa Primary Schools PTA.
Features: Pig carrying competition, Photo competition
and plenty of other entertainment.
Prizegiving and BBQ Sunday 3pm
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