White Poppies for Peace     |     Peace Movement Aotearoa

In memory of Will Foote

This is a time of sadness for us here at Peace Movement Aotearoa and for all who knew Will Foote, who died on Friday, 5 September 2014, aged 95.

Will was a World War Two conscientious objector - detained for four years, not released until after the war had ended and then prohibited from following his profession as a teacher for several years - a truly dedicated pacifist and peace person, and prolific author (a list of some of his publications is included below, including the most recent, No More War, published last month).

He was a founding member and long-time supporter of Peace Movement Aotearoa, and was on the Peace Movement Aotearoa Working Group for eight years in the 1980s. He was Secretary of the Nelson Peace Group for sixteen years, a role he took on after he retired in 1978, which continued until he moved to Christchurch; and a supporter of the Waihopai spy base protests and Anti-Bases Campaign.

Will was a great man, with an active lively mind, a dry wit and most entertaining quirky sense of humour - it was such a pleasure to hear his thoughts on a wide range of peace and related subjects. We always opened his regular correspondence, easily recognisable by the distinctive scrawl on the envelope, with keen anticipation. Just two weeks ago, a copy of Will's latest book arrived in the post, along with a letter sending his and Anne's apologies and best wishes for our AGM this weekend, explaining that their not being there "does not mean that peace is not very much in our minds". Peace was always very much in Will's mind, and we will miss him very much.

Our deepest sympathy to Anne and family, to Will's fellow detainees and friends - our thoughts are with you all at this time.

Will's funeral will be on Tuesday, 9 September, at 2pm at Westpark Chapel, 467 Wairakei Road, Christchurch. Messages can be sent to the Family of the late Will Foote c/o Box 39001, Christchurch 8545.

Some books by W.J. (Wilfred John) Foote:

  • No more war (2014) - if you would like to order a copy, the form is available here

  • Passing Bells: Wars, Non-Violence & Common Morality (2009)
  • Saving Trees And Stopping Wars: Non-violence And Positive Peacemaking (2006)
  • Going Uphill Backwards: Foote-notes on a Storied Life (2002)
  • Bread and Water: The Escape and Ordeal of Two New Zealand World War II Conscientious Objectors, with Chris Palmer and Merv Browne (2000)
  • The Power Of People: How Nelson Province Became Nuclear Free (1999)
  • Quest For Peace: Confessions, Lies And Heroes (1997)
  • Only A Game: A Cricketing Odyssey (1996)
  • A bit over the top : and other stories of a Canterbury boyhood, 1925-1936 (1992)
  • Disarmed and defended : a study of social defence, associated policies, and other defence options (1986)
  • The Decision, Behind the Wire in New Zealand (1983), a novel

Top of the page   |   Peace Movement Aotearoa