At the age of just 22 David Levene had the foresight to transform his father’s paint shop from a single store into a national chain of stores. So, when entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Sir David Levene joined the then North Shore Hospice board some years later, in 1990, its members were elated.
“North Shore people were pretty much in awe of him, as was I,” says Sir David Levene. founding trustee Wilf Marley. “He was a man of integrity and a prudent businessman with a real standing in the community. He would challenge the board in a constructive way, and I can remember him having at least one or two arguments with our then chair, Sir Robert Muldoon,” he chuckles.
On Wednesday 11th August, Sir David died, aged 91, leaving a lasting legacy.
He was the benefactor of a number of charities, and his association with Harbour Hospice North Shore spanned more than three decades, with Sir David supporting Harbour Hospice through his David Levene Foundation long after he stepped down from the board.
During his tenure as a trustee, he was instrumental in securing the Hospice premises at 7 Shea Terrace, Takapuna, with himself and Sir Robert Muldoon conducting the final stages of negotiations with the Hospital Board to purchase the building outright. He was part of the board in 1991 when North Shore Hospice ran a campaign to raise $3 million to establish an Inpatient facility, and he played a pivotal role in encouraging the trustees to establish a Foundation and bequest programme.
Sir David was a keen supporter of Harbour Hospice fundraising events, in particular the annual North Shore Golf Day which Sir David and the David Levene Foundation regularly sponsored, and entered a team. The Foundation has contributed almost $1 million to Harbour Hospice over the years. More recently, it has focused on supporting North Shore’s annual medical supplies. However past support has included funding equipment, operating costs, and significant support of capital projects including the expansion of the North Shore Inpatient Unit in 2002 and the building of Tui House in Warkworth in 2016.
“Within reason Sir David would have done anything for hospice,” Marley says. “But he didn't particularly want his name to be used by way of promotion work. He wanted to lend his weight behind the scenes. He used his networks, and his own mana, for the benefit of hospice.”
“He will be deeply missed,” says Harbour Hospice Board Chair, Ann Tod. “Sir David, as an early trustee, continued to support Hospice throughout his life with wise advice. I wish to express my deepest sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues.”
Sir David is survived by his two children, Elizabeth and Mark, and lived until his death in the Milford home that he and his late wife Billie Arkle, bought in 1960.
For more information please contact Karyn Henger at Karyn.Henger@harbourhospice.org.nz or on 021 459 863.