Peter McNab, recent Gold Card holder, grew up around Owaka, hub of the Catlins in the deep South. He spent his formative years working on his family’s farm and, after marrying Nellie in 1985, eventually bought the farm.
Family soon followed and Peter and Nellie were proud parents to three strapping sons, two of whom eventually joined them to work on the farm, continuing on with the tradition of farming as a family. Today, the family farm is leased to their eldest son, Lyndon.
However, in early 2018 disaster struck when youngest son, Baden, drowned in a diving accident. Peter says that the tragedy happened early in the new year when, possibly not following correct diving protocol while out diving, Baden blacked out in shallow water and didn’t surface after what was to be the last dive before lunch.
Baden's devastated parents knew that they wanted to do something meaningful to honour Baden’s life. They had heard about the idea of endowment giving through Clutha Foundation, took a look at options and decided that a fund in his honour, giving back to the things he loved, would be a meaningful way to remember Baden and leave a fitting legacy for his life.
“Baden loved hunting and fishing and diving. So we thought about doing safety courses in Owaka, as many young people never really think about doing proper training, they just learn from their mates.. and sometimes important safety bases aren’t covered, ” said Peter.
“It also means doing something that might mean someone else doesn’t have to go through what we have.”
The Baden McNab Fund at Clutha Foundation has been set up to fund courses for local people to learn advanced snorkelling safety. The Fund will be invested by the Foundation and continue to pay out the interest to run these courses, each and every year, in perpetuity.
And demand has been huge for the first course, “We simply told half a dozen people about the course, and it was full as soon as we put the fliers out”, said Peter.
Dive Otago ran the first course in early December 2021, where 16 students came together to learn diving essentials.
And, Peter says, the support has been overwhelming. “Because the Baden McNab Fund is so new and hasn’t generated any interest yet, Dive Otago didn’t charge for the course for 2021. They simply said to me that they weren’t going to send an invoice.”
He adds, “If there is one person who can be alive because of this course, that is great. And it’s incredible to think it can make such a difference, and they may never know.”
After seeing more closely the opportunities offered by Clutha Foundation, Peter and Nellie have also looked at widening their giving to support the local community. “We have been farming our whole lives and, like many farmers, have ended up with some assets. We are now in a position which is reasonably comfortable, and the Foundation is a great concept to support and encourage others in a similar position to do likewise.”
“It’s nice to be able to do something for others. While I like to do things discreetly, Baden’s Fund is the exception as we’d like him to be remembered. However, I also think that the General Fund at Clutha Foundation is a really neat idea, knowing that people would like to give locally to help local people.”
Recently, Peter’s interest for the Clutha Foundation’s work has seen him appointed onto their trust board as a trustee, which he says he is really delighted to do, as he believes in their work. “There’s the perpetuity aspect, which is really appealing, but there is also the fact that the Foundation is managed by local people we can trust. And I like the voluntary aspect of it, which is really a part of our rural DNA; I like the way it’s set up and am confident that the trustworthiness will continue on into the future”.
“It’s good to think that, through our own giving, we can really transform lives. I feel like we have achieved something, for Baden and for our community. It’s very rewarding.”