Trust mourns the loss of former chair Ross McRobie

30 Nov 2021


It was with great sadness that Otago Community Trust learnt former long standing trustee and chair Ross McRobie passed away on Monday evening after a brief illness.

Ross was diagnosed with cancer just a couple of months ago and sadly despite treatment and his unwavering optimism that he would overcome this adversity, the extensive nature of the cancers in his body meant that the treatment was sadly too late.

Ross was a well-loved and treasured member not only of the Otago Community Trust family, but the wider Combined Community Trust whanau who represent the 12 Community Trusts across Aotearoa, New Zealand.

First appointed as a trustee to Otago Community Trust in 2011, Ross served nine years on the Trust’s board and was the Trust’s chairman from 2015 to 2020. During his tenure Ross also was appointed as the convener of the chairs group of all community trusts in New Zealand and held this role for close to three years before stepping down in 2020.

Diccon Sim current chair of Otago Community Trust said "Ross was the chair of Otago Community Trust at the time of my appointment as a trustee and could not have been more welcoming or supportive. Over the following years, I learned an enormous amount from him about our community and the ways in which our Trust is able to best support its hopes and aspirations. Ross was a kind and gentle guide of our decision-making who demonstrated great respect for the views of all trustees, and ensured that all voices around our table were heard."

Ross’s passion for the community was always unwavering and his dedication, commitment, and leadership were an inspiration to all.

Upon stepping down from the Trust in 2020, Ross commented that "chairing the Otago Community Trust board was one of the most rewarding roles he had ever had".

Otago Community Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger reflects that it was such a pleasure to work alongside Ross for nearly 6 and a half years. 

"I was so fond of Ross, he was not just our chair he was also a mentor and friend.  His positivity and humour were infectious, and he seemed to know just about everyone and what was happening in Otago.  Alongside his tremendous sense of civic duty, was his commitment to his family - he was a very proud father and grandfather, often sharing stories of his grandchildren’s activities and readily whipping out his phone to show a recent photo." 

"Ross will be sorely missed but also widely remembered for his positivity and passion for life and for helping others.  Our community is the better for his enormous contribution."  

Ross found tremendous satisfaction working with people who were motivated and dedicated and constantly striving to create a better Otago for all.

Ross’s infectious positivity, dedication and fun-loving personality will be sorely missed, and our heartfelt condolences go out to Petrea, James, Emma and all Ross’s extended family who have lost someone truly special to this world.