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Ross Dallow - A Tribute

The Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation mourns the loss one of its founders and first chairman, Ross Dallow MNZM, QPM, NZSSM (Erebus).

Ross was a giant Totara in the forest of New Zealand Sport and in Waitakere/West Auckland where his ceaseless efforts have left an unparalleled legacy.


A former “top cop” in the west, Ross believed that if we can inspire young people with the sporting ideal, they and the community would see great benefits.  In line with that he lived by his slogan that if youth “were into sport, they were out of court”.


He was among the six West Auckland leaders who committed themselves to continue the youth work of the late, great, Don Oliver by creating our Foundation in Don’s honour. Those six were Ross as founding chairman, Bryan Heron MNZM businessman and philanthropist who gave generously to establish our fund, Maureen Oliver, Don’s wife, Sir Bob Harvey, Mayor of Waitakere, (the late) Chris Timms, double Olympic medallist and Bernie Allen, West Auckland lawyer.  They were soon joined by local accountant, Kerry Tizard whose work and time as the long-term secretary-treasurer, was donated by him and UHY Haines Norton.


In terms of the Don Oliver legacy, Ross drove and shaped the Foundation into an organisation that has had enormous success supporting and inspiring outstanding young sporting achievers from West Auckland.  In the years since the creation of “The Don Oliver”, there hasn’t been a New Zealand Olympic or Commonwealth Games team without at least one past or present Don Oliver scholar.  That in itself is an astonishing confirmation of Ross’ belief that given the support and opportunity West Auckland youngster would prove themselves among the best in the world.


Because of the demands of his other community projects, Ross surrendered the chairmanship in 2004 but remained as an Ambassador and never ceased to give his committed love and support, nor to give his time generously, as a mentor and advisor to the board of trustees.


Ross was an indefatigable Waitakere City Councillor who took on the tasks of regenerating the then flagging Sport Waitakere and building and funding The Trusts Arena. As chairman of the West Auckland Stadium Trust, Ross used his drive, contacts, guile and creative energy to find ways in which the Arena could be built at minimal cost to the ratepayers of the city.


He and fellow former athlete (the late) Sir Graeme Douglas co-operated on the creation of the Douglas Track and Field aspect of the Arena. They then ignited the world-class international athletic meets that bear Sir Graeme’s name.


Outstanding about the Arena is that it achieves the (nearly impossible) goal so dear to Ross’ heart. This is that it shall be as self-supporting as possible through its commercial activities as host to a vast array of events and exhibitions, while remaining affordable for young people to use to train, practise and play their preferred sports.


The Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation Board of Trustees are deeply saddened by Ross’ passing and offer their heartfelt sympathies to the Dallow family. They re-commit themselves, in Ross’ memory, to continuing their work with West Auckland youth sporting talent.


Another giant Totara has fallen.


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