About Vic Davis
Long-time Ohope resident, Vic Davis, well known and highly regarded as an engineer, sailor, Rotarian, community leader and philanthropist, passed away in 2004 leaving the bulk of his estate in the Vic Davis Memorial Trust.
According to those that knew him, Mr Davis’ life was one of success and he was someone able to cheerfully motivate and encourage others to great heights.
Mr Davis was born in 1921 and spent his early years in Blockhouse Bay. He began work as a cadet with the Waitemata Power Board and then joined the New Zealand Army early in the war.
He was transferred to the navy where he served on the destroyer HMS Leander in the torpedo and depth-charge team. His ship was torpedoed in 1943 and limped back to Tulagi in the Solomons for repairs.
He returned to the Waitemata Power Board after the war then moved to Whakatane Board Mills as a chief electrical engineer, where he played a leading role in the expansion and updating of the mill, and training of apprentices and technicians for 30 years.
Vic Davis was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Whakatane West and its second president.
He was a well known sailor and fisherman and he designed and built a large double-ender boat which he would launch off the beach at West End Ohope in all but the wildest conditions and motor to White Island and back.
His leadership was also evident in a number of other community initiatives. He mobilised the team of trampers and skiers who formed the Whakapapa Mountain Club. He also organised a team of local volunteers who went to outlying villages in the Fiji islands to help with the provision of power and water supplies and provide advice on saw-milling and house building. Vic was also DoC’s official gannet bander on White Island and for decades he organised parties of volunteers to travel there to carry out this task.
He had more than his fair share of tragedy - his son died in infancy, and his daughter in tragic circumstances in her late teens - to which he responded by helping others facing similar problems.
The Vic Davis Memorial Trust, which operates under the terms of a trust deed detailed in Mr Davis's will, distributes on average $80,000 a year in grants and scholarships with a focus on mental health.