An unassuming act of generosity has left a lasting legacy that will shape the community for generations to come. Ian Bruce Irwin – known to all as Bush- has made a remarkable decision to support his local community through a thoughtful bequest.

Ian Bruce Irwin was born in 1952 and raised on his parent’s farm at Kohuratahi, 80 km east of Stratford.  He was educated at the local Marco School before boarding at New Plymouth Boys’ High School.

After leaving school, Ian joined his father’s shearing gang. When not shearing he would be possum hunting deep into the rugged Eastern Taranaki bush. At just 18 years old Ian purchased his first farm and later bought two more properties in the area, including the family land where he had always lived.  Ian lived for farming, if he wasn’t watching his favourite sports on TV or enjoying a catch-up with family and friends, he would be outdoors appreciating the environment.

Ian died suddenly of a heart attack in August 2022 at Kohuratahi. In his will he earmarked a sum to benefit local organisations – including the East Taranaki Environment Collective (ETEC), a community-led conservation organisation that carries out pest management on more than 18,000 ha of Eastern Taranaki land.

ETEC chair Rob Maetzig believes the modest bequest has planted the seeds of a lasting legacy.

“The legacy left by Ian Irwin will have a positive impact in perpetuity, benefiting the East Taranaki community and contributing to the protection of our precious ecosystem and biodiversity for years to come,” he says.

Ian Irwin’s contribution to the East Taranaki Environment Collective will indeed be a gift that keeps on giving, as half of the bequest will be transferred to the Taranaki Foundation’s endowment fund. The funds from this bequest will be invested, with income and investment growth distributed annually to ETEC as a grant.

“This means that Ian’s generosity will continue to provide essential support for ETEC for generations. The impact of his gift will not only be immediate, but will continue to support the community for years,” says Rob Maetzig.

Josh Hickford, CE Taranaki Foundation, says: “We are extremely grateful to receive our first bequest to the East Taranaki Environment Collective Fund with Taranaki Foundation. Giving to a Community Foundation reflects optimism for the future. While the donor may not directly reap the rewards, the act of making a selfless contribution which benefits generations yet to come.”

Ian Irwin’s bequest to the East Taranaki Environment Collective stands as a local example of how one individual’s thoughtful gift can create a legacy that will benefit the community for generations to come.

Many local groups have established Community Funds that will provide the essential long-term funding they need to carry on their important work.

Donations made to a Community Fund will be invested, protected and grown each year in line with inflation, with the income generated funding the selected charity or cause.