Kapiti News

A ‘good bloke’ who made things happen

Believer in responsibi­lity of business owners to their communitie­s

- Obituary: Mike Olsen Leanne Warr

Mike was there because there was a job to be done and he knew how to do it and he wanted to get a good result. Mike Brown, former town clerk

Mike Olsen was a “good bloke” and was well regarded in the Ka¯piti and Dannevirke communitie­s, according to those who knew him well.

The former deputy mayor of Dannevirke Borough Council died in Ka¯piti on January 21 after a short illness.

Originally from Pahiatua, at the age of 23 he took over his father’s Four Square store and, according to Foodstuffs, became a partner in Pahiatua New World.

When he was 27, he became the youngest ever board director for Foodstuffs Wellington.

He came to Dannevirke in 1978, taking over the Holden Place Discounter and opening the first New World in March the same year.

He ran both stores until 1990, when they were both sold, and moved to the Ka¯piti Coast.

Mike Brown, a former town clerk, knew Olsen through his time on the Dannevirke Borough Council.

He said Olsen was a very astute businessma­n and those skills were brought on to the council.

“He was a really good bloke to deal with. Everybody got on well with him.”

Brown said when Olsen, who served as deputy mayor, spoke people listened to what he had to say because of the common sense behind it.

“It wasn’t emotive or anything like that.”

Where some had got into politics for the prestige, that wasn’t Olsen, he said.

“Mike was there because there was a job to be done and he knew how to do it and he wanted to get a good result.”

The fact that Olsen also built Dannevirke’s first “decent” supermarke­t made a huge impact on the town. “He made a big difference.” Brown said Olsen was an enterprisi­ng man who looked after his staff very well, and they in turn were loyal to him.

After his move to Ka¯piti, it wasn’t long before he was asked to take over the management of the then new Pak’nSave, which he bought in 1993 to become the owner-operator.

Foodstuffs chief executive Chris Quin said in an obituary circulated around the company that Olsen led the store through “a season of significan­t growth”.

He also developed strong connection­s between the store and community.

Quin said Olsen was heavily involved in the community outside of his stores, joining the Ka¯piti Coast Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and setting up a fund with the Nikau Foundation.

He said Olsen was actively involved in supporting local and national causes and would often do so quietly or anonymousl­y.

“[He] was a strong believer in the responsibi­lity of business owners to their communitie­s and doing what you can to make it a better place for people to live.”

Olsen was also involved with Club Vista at Paraparaum­u Beach. The club sent out a message to members on his passing.

“Mike was the driving force in 2015 and onwards of the successful amalgamati­on between the Kapiti Club Inc and Paraparaum­u Memorial RSA.

“Mike had served Club Vista for the past six years, given countless voluntary hours of his time, entreprene­urial skills and business acumen which has been a huge contributi­on to the successful club that we have today.

“Mike was a very gifted and giving man, and his guidance, drive and mischievou­s personalit­y will be sadly missed.”

Olsen was farewelled at a service on January 25. He was 75. He’s survived by his wife Margaret, three children and grandchild­ren.

 ?? Photo / Tara Lemana ?? Mike Olsen.
Photo / Tara Lemana Mike Olsen.

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