Topic: Maurice Conder (1918-2004)

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Colonel Maurice Conder's life is remembered by Dave Blanchard writing in the 2004 (No 36) Hauraki Association Newsletter.

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Captain to Corporal to Colonel was the unconventional 47-year military career path of former Hauraki Honorary Colonel Maurice (Morrie) Conder who died in Tauranga last month (July) after a long illness.

Colonel Conder joined the Hauraki Regiment as a private soldier in Matamata in 1936 and was soon commissioned in C Company. He was mobilised in 1940 and, in common with a number of other young Territorial officers at that time, temporarily reverted to the ranks. As a result he was posted overseas in 1943 to 24 Battalion of the New Zealand Division as a Corporal.

Pictured : Hon Col Col Conder at Centre (1980)

He was a machine gunner in the torrid Battle of Cassino, and fought through the rest of the Italian Campaign - regaining his commission in the process. After World War II he maintained his Hauraki links, serving in C Company through the 1950s and rising to be Company OC in 1961 during the era of Compulsory Military Training.
In 1978 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Hauraki's - a rare honour for someone who has not been Commanding Officer and testimony to the regard in which he was held by the regiment.
Colonel Conder finally retired in 1983, but, in company with fellow Honorary Colonel's Allen Coster and Bob Burt, for several years afterwards, rarely failed to drop in at the Tauranga Garrision Club on a Friday evening, where they were always willing to share memories and offer comments to younger Hauraki's.
Born to dairy farming parents in Morrinsville, Mr Conder was raised in the Matamata district and began his working life on the family farm there, before setting up his own building firm in Matamata. After the war he resumed his trade as a building contractor and among other things his company constructed the factory premises of the now defunct Hinuera Dairy Company along with its ancillary buildings, associated staff houses, and shop. He eventually sold his business and retired to Tauranga in 1974.
Lt M. Conder (at left) in 1942.
A keen game fisherman, Colonel Conder was a past Patron and President of the Tauranga Game Fishing Club and owned a succession of launches over the years - the best known being the Sea Rover - which he skippered from White Island to North Cape, enjoying considerable success in fishing tournaments. He also took teams from Tauranga to compete in Hawaii several times.
Mr Conder served his community in numerous ways over the years. He was a member of the Matamata Pest Destruction board for 20 years, former vice-president of the Matamata RSA, a past President of the Matamata Club, a former committee member of the Matamata Racing Club, and past President of the Bay of Plenty Officers' Club. In his retirement he travelled extensively overseas, travelled by camper-van throughout New Zealand, and was a keen golfer, in addition to his fishing activities.
A modest man with a strong sense of humour, he will be remembered above all by his wide circle of friends as someone who "enjoyed life".
Dave Blanchard
This article was archived at Perma CC in August of 2016:

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Maurice Conder (1918-2004)

First Names:Maurice
Last Name:Conder
Date of Birth:11 January 1918
Place of Birth:Morrinsville
Date of death:5 July 2004
Place of death:Tauranga
Military Service:World War II (1939-1945)

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