Wellington councillor Simon Woolf 'forever grateful' to Bob Cater for pushing him to follow in his father's footsteps
Wellington City councillor Simon Woolf has paid an emotional tribute to the man who pushed him to follow in the footsteps of his renowned photographer father.
Robert (Bob) Raymond Cater, 80, died surrounded by family at Mary Potter Hospice in Porirua on September 24.
Cater, QSM, was a champion for culture and the arts in New Zealand. He went on to co-found Porirua's PATAKA Art + Museum and the Festival of the Elements, among other wide-reaching achievements.
Woolf shared a photo of a Dominion Post obituary about Cater on social media, and wrote that he was one of the most influential figures after his father, Ronald Woolf, died in a helicopter crash near Johnsonville in November 1987.
Simon Woolf was a photographer in his 20s at the time. He got a call from Cater who was a friend of a friend.
"He said he was working on New Zealand's 1990 150-year commemorations and, in a nutshell, asked if we would like to be the official photographers for that event.
"I totally lacked confidence at that time and said to Bob, 'thank you for the honour, however I felt I didn't have the experience to take on that role'.
"Bob said, 'You are a Woolf aren't you, and anyway it's not a request, I'm ringing you on behalf of the Ninth Floor [of the Beehive]."
Prime Minister David Lange knew his father, and had personally expressed his condolences to the Woolf family.
"Bob told me that the lead-up work would give me the appropriate experience that I would need for the 1990 year itself.
"He related that he and others had faith in me, and especially in my photography skills, and understanding of the necessary protocols, to able to make the best of the assignment.
"Bob's initiative, mentoring and subsequent friendship is something I will always remember and treasure."
The 150-year commemoration of the Treaty of Waitangi eventually took him around the country, including to Waitangi and to Gisborne, which saw the first ray of light.
"The biggest thank you I have in regards to Bob is that through that assignment I made so many friends and strong acquaintances, some of whom are now life-long friends and colleagues.
"He was not just an important figure in my life, but many others benefited from what he achieved, and from the man he was.
"He will be greatly missed."