“Yeah gidday!” was the signature conversation starter from Maureen Tahere of MT Communications, the well-loved and respected Wellington media treasure who sadly passed away on Sunday May 31.
The tight media family of Wellington and industry colleagues and friends from Auckland were left bereft following Maureen’s determined but sadly short and very private fight with melanoma. The celebration of Maureen’s life was attended by a very large contingency of family, friends, various sports teams that she dedicated her time to and those from across the advertising industry.
Maureen devoted the lion’s share of her career to agency life, from early in her career with Dormer Beck, Thompson Advertising and onto Total Media where she dedicated 21 years before starting her own business.
At the celebration of Maureen’s life, Martin Gillman spoke of his 20 years of working with Maureen
“Maureen has left her distinct mark. Somewhat unique in the industry she had old school values of loyalty, integrity and bloody hard work.
She was fiercely loyal to both her clients and work colleagues to the end. She didn’t want to cause a fuss but wanted things done well.
She earned her respect and as a result was greatly liked and valued. Maureen was one of a kind. She served her clients passionately and loyally.
She wasn’t one to delegate and take the glory of success or pass the problem elsewhere. She worked very much at the coalface and got things done.
The long term nature of most of her business relationships are testament to that. She tutored and mentored many who have since become leaders in the industry.”
Bob MacDonnell from Cognito Advertising, who had worked closely with Maureen for the last eight years paid a tribute at Maureen’s funeral.
"Maureen really was a ‘venerable institution’ in the Wellington media scene and it’s hard to believe she won’t be around anymore to share her insights, enthusiasm and experience with us. Maureen worked with me on Resene Paints with her long-time colleague and friend Mary Stella at Total Media, and more recently in her own media consultancy – MT Communications. She was passionate about working on the Resene account and Resene were equally enthusiastic about having her on the business.
Many in the media industry will retain great memories of their association with Maureen. For me it was her absolute professionalism and commitment. People talk about a safe pair of hands, Maureen had a safe pair of arms. She would embrace clients and colleagues with the kind of support, enthusiasm and dedication that would give you total confidence. And that is something pretty rare these days.
In addition, Maureen had a great capacity for hard work. She was tenacious in problem solving and sorting out solutions. She also had a great sense for new media opportunities and that endeared her to many clients over the years.”
Maureen pioneered many media firsts, particularly memorable and very much inspiring is the colour fan conveyer which greets us as we collect our bags at airports around the country. Of Maureen, Karen Warman of Resene Paints shared her fondness:
“Maureen was well and truly part of our Resene family. Maureen’s sage advice, straight shooter approach, sense of fairness, extensive knowledge and relationships, her ability to cut through the babble to what was really important and her love of her family, her friends, her work and of course her softball associations will always be remembered.”
There is a Maureen shaped hole in the tightknit Wellington media community. A mentor and inspiration of many, Maureen may rest easy now but those of us left behind have very big shoes to fill.
- Denelle Joyce is business director at Ogilvy & Mather and Mary Stella is senior media planner at OMD/Total Media.