Guilford (Gift) Montgomerie-Davidson CNZM, OBE, JP: 13 April 1932-14 December 2018.

PositionOBITUARY - Obituary

For the NZIIA 2018 ended on a sad note, with the passing of one of its well-respected servants --former president and life member Giff Davidson.

Giff was born in Lautoka, Fiji. Although his family's colonial roots lay in Queensland, where his great-grandfather had been surveyor-general in the late 19th century, his grandfather, a barrister, had set up practice in Fiji. GifPs father, Earle, was employed as an engineer by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in the colony.

With the entry of Japan to the Second World War in December 1941, and the sweep of Japanese forces towards the South Pacific, Fiji's vulnerability was highlighted. In 1942 Giff's mother with Giff and his sister was evacuated to New Zealand, while his father was sent to Norfolk Island. After the war his family was reunited in Norfolk for a time, but they re-established themselves in New Zealand in 1948. During this period Gift was bedridden for more than year, suffering from osteomyelitis.

Giff was educated mainly at Dilworth School and Avondale College. Despite his earlier illness, he was an active sportsman, excelling at athletics. Later he would become an avid water and snow skier and scuba diver, and in later life he was a keen fisherman and golfer.

In 1949, at the age of 17, Giff enlisted in the Territorial Force, shortly before a referendum paved the way for the re-introduction of compulsory military service for 18-year-olds. Serving in the Auckland Squadron of the New Zealand Scottish Regiment, he would eventually be commissioned as a lieutenant. His military service ended in I960.

Giff began working in the advertising firm John Ulott Ltd before taking an administrative position with Kerridge Odeon Ltd. In 1953 he joined Shell Oil, with whom he would remain until 1992, serving in a variety of areas. His first posting was as sales manager in Paeroa. During this period he courted Auckland-based Philippa ('Pip') Ann Furkert, whom he married in 1960. They would have two daughters.

In the early 1960s Giff was based in Rotorua before moving to Auckland. His Shell career included a stint in South Africa in 1971-72. Thereafter, he and Pip resided in Wellington as he served in the company's head office. His final role was corporate relations manager.

Early in his career with Shell Giff had been a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. In 1986 he joined the Wellington chamber, and soon became its president; he would be made a life member in 1994. He also chaired the New...

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