Last week we farewelled a great leader, mentor and friend with the sad passing of PRINZ Fellow Bruce Fraser.
Amanda Weatherley FPRINZ was honoured to speak at Bruce’s service, alongside his lifelong friends and the whānau that he was so proud of. She shares her tribute…
I have known Bruce for most of my life – in Whakatāne through our love of hockey and throughout our careers in PR. He was my mentor, my role model, my biggest advocate, and just an all-round amazing human.
He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.
Bruce personified this whakatauki – he always put people first and no matter what the event, hui, crises or situation he instilled a sense a belonging, of whanaungatanga, of connection.
Bruce had an immense impact and influence on the public relations industry and on those of us who were fortunate to know him. He was very much the fabric, the warp and weft of the industry and was held in high esteem.
A much-loved and respected English teacher, Bruce joined the Bay of Plenty Regional Council as Group Manager People and Partnerships, and it was during this time that he joined PRINZ.
He received APR in 2002 and was awarded PRINZ Fellow in 2007. A natural leader, he took the mantle as PRINZ President from 2014 to 2016 and represented us at the World PR Forum in Spain.
There are so many adjectives that epitomise Bruce and I’ve managed to consolidate them to just three words: gravitas. generous. empowering. Okay four words. caring.
Bruce had gravitas, a dignity about him that commanded a room. It wasn’t just his physical stature; it was his mana and the way he carried himself.
And that deep voice, which was warm, welcoming and authorative at the same time. He led gently and with conviction. He laughed easily and was serious when he needed to be.
Bruce was incredibly generous. Generous with his time; generous with his knowledge, generous with his wisdom, and of course, generous with his smile.
He mentored PRINZ APR candidates, gave his time to be on judging panels for the annual PRINZ Awards, facilitated conferences and workshops, and was a trusted advisor to many.
It’s not surprising that in Bruce’s LinkedIn profile his list of volunteering roles is just as long as his professional experience.
From Chair of the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust and leading the volunteer clean-up programme when the Rena ran aground to being a driving force in the Sustainable Business Network and a founding trustee on both the BOP and NZ Farm Environment Trusts, and of course his huge contribution to PRINZ.
Bruce empowered those who worked for him, alongside him or were mentored by him, to become the best they could be. He emphatically understood people and what made them tick.
Bruce cared, like really cared. About the environment, about whānau, about community, about people. He embraced te ao Māori. He always focused on how we – the greater we – could work together for the good, for the better. He held fast to his values and was the definition of a modern-day gentleman.
Bruce’s LinkedIn profile summarises this great man, and I quote: “Swimmer, diver, cyclist, cryptic cross worder, reader, whiskey fan, keen cook but above all a passionate family man who cares about our planet.”
Well said Bruce. You were one of the best. Thank you for all that you gave. Arohanui e hoa.
Amanda Weatherley FPRINZ APR