Queenstown has lost a mentor, teammate, business colleague and community stalwart with the sudden death of Ewan Maxwell.
The married father of five, a resident for 15 years, suffered a fatal fall down a steep cliff while hunting in South Westland last Friday.
“He definitely knew how to bring the best out in people,” Queenstown senior women’s hockey coach Linda Paki Paki says, speaking of her long-time predecessor.
“The team’s gutted.
“He was always extremely committed, very enthusiastic and always saw the good in everything that everyone was doing. There was never ever a bad side – it was always just stuff to improve on.
“Without him, we would never have been the team we were.”
Paki Paki took over the coaching duties when Ewan stood down last season – “But he held my hand through the whole thing, I used to talk to him a couple of times a week because he wanted me to coach the best I possibly could.”
A former representative player, Ewan was also the oldest member of the Queenstown men’s team which won the Central Otago title last winter.
He and wife Jan shifted with their family to Queenstown from Gore in 1995 to re-establish the Paper Plus bookstore, which they owned for 12 years.
For the past four years Ewan was a Print Central account manager.
“He was great for us,” boss Graeme Hastie says.
“He wanted the best for the customer and for us and had great business ethics.
“Ewan was such a giving guy – he was involved with a lot of the staff in other things like hockey and mentoring them.”
Hastie, who knew Ewan for about 30 years, earlier introduced him to cricket.
Becoming a stalwart of the social Millbrook Cricket Club, he played for them at Golden Oldies World Cricket Festivals in Australia, Sri Lanka and England last year and helped Queenstown host the event in 2008.
“He would’ve got ‘team man’ of the year, year after year, for his involvement in the club,” Hastie says.
Cricket/hockey teammate James Denniston says Ewan had “good eye-ball coordination”.
“He was a hockey player turned cricketer, hence a cross-bat shot that was like an Exocet missile.”
Ewan was active in Rotary, serving as club president in 2002-03.
There was standing room only at his funeral on Saturday held at the Memorial Hall. The Millbrook Cricket Club and Queenstown Hockey Club members formed guards of honour.
Ewan, 55, is survived by wife Jan – Queenstown Lakes District Council’s arts and events facilitator – five children and three grandkids.