History of “The Don Oliver”
While Don Oliver’s legendary status is as an Olympian and pioneer in the fitness industry, his work with young people was what inspired Waitakere Sir Bob Harvey, Councillor Ross Dallow MNZM, businessman and philanthropist Bryan Heron MNZM, Olympian and businessman (the late) Chris Timms and lawyer Bernie Allan to established the Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation in 1997.
What better memorial to his life's work with young people could there be, they reasoned, than a charitable foundation in his name, to assist promising young athletes?
The Foundation was therefore established with the mission to provide scholarships and other forms of support for pre-elite Waitakere athletes in all codes. To be eligible the youngsters must be aged between 14 and 21, live and train in Waitakere and have the realistic ability to step up to national and international honours.
The total value of the first 6 scholarships was $1,500. Today each Gold scholarship is $5,000 while Silver scholarships are $4,000 and Bronze scholarships, $2,000.The scholarships are tailored to meet the actual needs of each individual. A record 11 scholarships were granted in 2009.
The first intake of scholarships was 1998 and covered a variety of sports. Bradley Heaven - Golf, Karl Gollan - Softball , Nicole de Lautour - Triathlon , Gordon Bearman - Cycling , Daniel Shirley - Badminton and Tina-Lee Viskovich - Karate. The first 6 scholarships total value was $1500.00 each.
Don’s widow, Maureen, is patron of the foundation. None of the founding trustees are still on the Trust, but Bryan Heron MNZM, Ross Dallow MNZM and Sir Bob Harvey are all Don Oliver Ambassadors – as are past chairman Rod Gavin and former trustees, Nick Schouten and Kerry Tizzard.