Topic: Donald Murray Stafford, MBE CBE 1927 - 2010

Topic type:

A Gentleman, Scholar, Historian, Storyteller, Author and Artist.

Stafford, Don

* Educated King's College, Auckland and studied Anthropology at the University of Auckland.  He was an Historian, Author, Freelance Journalist, Radio Broadcaster, Teacher, Lecturer, Councillor, Curator of Rotorua Museum, Friend, Educational Entertainer, Elder, Local Hero, Storyteller and Community Champion.

He was known as a gentleman who bridged both Maori and European worlds and contributed an extensive amount of work to the history of Rotorua and the people of Te Arawa.

Newspaper Articles

Family, friends and local community members paid tribute to Don at his funeral. In an article published by the New Zealand Herald, his family spoke affectionately of him and his daughter described her father as a “non-judgemental” man who possessed “impeccable manners.” Dignitaries described his work of the history of Rotorua and the Te Arawa people as a legacy left for future generations.

A professor of history at Waikato University, Giselle Byrnes, also paid tribute to his work and stated that 'every city needs to have a historian as passionate as Don Stafford.' 


In New Zealand History online you can read an Obituary written by Ann Somerville for 'Phanzine' magazine. Ann acknowledges the many roles that Don filled as historian, author, broadcaster and artist which were reflected in his valuable work that spanned decades.

 In Rotorua Kete there is a list of a series of dvd's featuring Don Stafford interviewing Rotorua personalities about the events and people that have shaped Rotorua. A list of the books that he wrote was compiled by Mary Ellen Wilson, Su Potter, Amanda Hemara and Andrew Te Amo, which includes a moving introduction. You can read this list here and you can search the Rotorua District Library catalogue to find the location of these items and other books that he wrote.

 Don also created black and white illustrations for his book titled, “Natural New Zealand: an illustrated guide.” 

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

Donald Murray Stafford, MBE CBE 1927 - 2010

First Names:Donald Murray
Last Name:Stafford
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License
Donald Murray Stafford, MBE CBE 1927 - 2010 by Kete Rotorua is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License