Death of former US Ambassador Anne Martindell

Friday 13 June 2008, 3:46PM
By Rt. Hon Helen Clark

Prime Minister Helen Clark today paid tribute to the former United States Ambassador to New Zealand, Anne Martindell, who has passed away in Princeton, New Jersey, aged 93.

"Anne Martindell was a wonderful friend of New Zealand. I extend my sympathy and condolences to her family," Helen Clark said.

Anne Martindell served as United States Ambassador to New Zealand from 1979 to 1981 and helped found the US/NZ Council.

"Anne had a love for New Zealand that remained long after she was Ambassador here. It led her to establish the US/NZ Council in Washington DC in 1986 to foster communication, friendship and cooperation between the two countries. She also formed a relationship with the great New Zealand painter Sir Tosswill Woollaston.

"She visited just last year at the age of 93 to participate in the Partnership Forum which was created by the US/NZ Council and its New Zealand counterpart.

"Anne was a remarkable woman. She was a mother and housewife for the first half of her life, entering politics in New Jersey at the age of 56 after serving in President Carter’s Administration as Director of the office of Foreign Disaster Assistance of the Agency for International Development. Later in life she studied and completed a BA at Smith College at the age of 87. She recently completed her memoirs appropriately entitled 'Never Too Late'.

"Anne was a great American who exemplified a generosity of spirit and a genuine affection for New Zealand that made all New Zealanders warm to her. We have lost a very dear friend," Helen Clark said.