Remembering Jeanette Fitzsimons

A collection of wonderful tributes from our supporters in remembrance of the late Jeanette Fitzsimons.  

"I would like to take a moment to remember Jeanette Fitzsimons...

She was a founder and coleader of the Green party and was involved in energy and environmental politics and policy since the 1970s. I have interviewed her a number of times on Community or Chaos Oar Radio and I know her in the alliance coalition. She was a kind and principled person. Perhaps the most trusted New Zealand politician in the second half of the 20th century through to now."

- Marvin Hubbard

"I did some work with Jeanette in the 90's on renewable energy and appropriate technology, her passing leaves a void in NZ's sane energy future. More recently, caught up with her again shutting down oil conferences in New Plymouth and Wellington. Greatly saddened at the loss of one of our guiding lights."

- David Pate

"I never met Jeanette but I was always impressed and reassured when I heard her on radio, with her calm, considerate manner; her phenomenal grasp of facts; and ability to make rational arguments in an often irrational political environment."

- Shona McCahon

"What I most remember of Jeanette is her smile that shone out from a place of such caring, and accompanied her positive energy. In her presence the best of myself came out and I felt doubly committed to doing the ‘good work’.

I also remember standing outside the Beehive one evening and I saw her emerge, carrying armfuls of heavy paperwork, no doubt her weekend reading. She walked slowly and looked tired as she crossed the concrete forecourt, and I felt like she was carrying the weight of the world….on behalf of all of us. I loved Jeanette."

- Ange Palmer

"Jeanette was asked to deliver the 2013 Quaker lecture.

After first presenting it in Kapiti she represented it in the Mt Eden Meeting House for Auckland audiences.

The topic was Enough! The Challenge of a post-growth economy. My abiding memory of that occasion was the integrity, passion and clarity of that lecture.

As I was part of the hosting group she came back to my place for dinner with a small group. We asked her: The main challenge for the environment is the growing and unsustainable population of the world. What can we do about that that.

A tough question, but she didn’t hesitate. We need to ensure the wellbeing of women, particularly in developing countries."

- Heather Denny

O, dear Jeanette Fitzsimons: she is dead.
Wake, melancholy Mother, wake and weep!
Yet wherefore? Quench within their burning bed
thy fiery tears, and let thy loud heart keep
like hers: a mute and uncomplaining sleep;
for she is gone, where all things wise and fair
descend;- oh, dream not that the ancient Deep
will yet restore her to the vital air;
Death feeds on her mute voice, and laughs at our despair

- edited from Adonais by Shelley

"Our memories of Jeanette mostly revolve around the Kauaeranga Valley community and more precisely our farms.

Memories of “sharing the bull”. Both our farms have house cows. This means on an annual basis the cows must get pregnant. So we would walk the bull from one farm to the other, along the drive, over the red bridge, along the dirt road, stopping traffic to move them along and over the tar sealed road and then up the next drive to awaiting girlfriends. It was always a hassle to get them across the red bridge. Jeanette’s gentle approach usually got them over.

Harvesting olives was also a wonderful community affair accompanied with great conversation and a Jeanette lunch. She was often humbled by the abundance the earth gave and proud of their harvests.

Harry and Jeanette always shared the swimming hole in the river off their property. After a good swim on a hot afternoon we’d stop for a moment and catch up. One of the fondest memories was feeling valued after having a conversation with Jeanette. She knew how to listen and to respect. Her insight on a variety of subjects was quite profound and she was willing to share her knowledge.

Once, when Newmont Mining was prospecting close by, many of us gathered very rapidly. Jeanette never lost her temper or spoke unkindly to the Newmont spokes person even when he threatened to call the police and have us removed. Jeanette told him he couldn’t because it wasn’t his land. This was done with authority and kindness – a rare combination - able to go directly but gently to the point. At the conclusion of the day we escorted Newmont Mining out of our valley.

It was always lovely to see Jeanette and Harry at the local pot luck dinners, sharing chestnut recipes, news of neighbours, what was happening in national politics.

We hope Jeanette is rejoicing now that most planes have stopped flying, less cars are on the roads, the atmosphere is cleaner and we aren’t using as many resources as we did even last month.

We miss her."

- Eric and Nancy Zwaan

Tim Jones: What You Leave Behind


Ehara i te tii e wana ake.
It is not like the ever-renewed shoots of the cabbage tree .

Death is final & irrevocable. The tii or cabbage tree is hard to kill, because new shoots spring from apparently dead branches.

What You Leave Behind

The final movement of the last quartet
stumbles to an end. The players
raise their bows from the strings,
stand, incline their heads,

And wait as the silence stretches on.
The hall is empty. Only microphones
connect them with the world. Where
are you, where have you gone?

Gone from the valley, gone from the hill.
Gone your prodigious memory, your mind.
You were not a kind person, you told me once.
But your forte was kindness in action.

You planted a thousand thousand seeds.
Stony ground devoured some. Others
were taken by drought, swept away
by sudden flood and rising sea.

Yet hundreds still grow, seedlings
sheltered so long by the mighty parent tree
now spiraling upwards in the clearing
made by your fall from the canopy.

Silence in the hall, silence on the Hill.
The air lies thick and curdled.
In our lungs and in our bones
we feel the cost of consequences rise.

All voices end. Yours lives on
in wisdom, friendship, in example.
Be kind. Speak clearly. Be unafraid.
Block the gates of power and greed.

The players leave. The music hides
between the pages of the score.
Alone on stage, one music stand,
one violin, one bow, one empty chair.