A salute to Kim Forbes

Department of Conservation —  22/05/2015

Our colleague Kim Forbes died in March while mountain biking the Seven Mile Bike Park in Queenstown.

Kim was an experienced Senior Works Officer in Nelson and worked on several major projects around the region, including the new hut at Anchorage in Abel Tasman National Park. 

Some of Kim’s workmates share memories of their friend:

Kim Forbes.

Andrew, Regional Planning Manager, Nelson

Andrew, DOC Regional Planning Manager (Nelson).


I knew Kim by reputation long before starting as his manager here in Nelson 18 months ago. Since that time I have been nothing but impressed with Kim’s seemingly unlimited capacity to go the extra mile and to have many projects on the go at any one time and delivered to his very high standards.

Put simply, he set the benchmark for others to aspire to.

Kim preferred to avoid the limelight, but he was trusted and respected by all who worked with him during his 17 years with DOC – both those within the Department and the many consultants and contractors who dealt with him in his project management role.

Kim never did things by halves and liked to live life to the full. He was on holiday with his partner Sara and was doing one of the things he loved when he passed away—mountain biking at the 7 Mile Bike Park near Queenstown (and no doubt going full noise).

I am sure all those who knew Kim will share with me a great sense of loss—of a colleague, mate, and an all round good bloke. He has left a great legacy in the many construction projects he has delivered throughout the region (far too many to list here).

Kim Forbes.

Brendon, Recreation Advisor, Nelson

Brendon Clough.


I walk into the room and, as normal, I’m running a bit late.

Forbes looks up and I get the usual greeting, ‘Morning, good to see you’re actually coming to work today’. Chips and Chris look up with grins on their faces. We all spend a few minutes catching up on the last week’s programmes with the normal banter thrown in.

Kim’s probably been here since 6 am, working on a contract or business case.

He’ll spend the day catching up and grumbling about paperwork.

The ‘Rec Room’ has always been a bit of a drop-in centre, so, as the day progresses, a fanfare of contractors, programme managers, field staff and the odd senior manager call in.

Our office has always had a good feel to it—a great team spirit and friendly atmosphere. We often got the word to quieten the noise down a bit.

It’s four o’clock and Forbes has had enough. “I’m off to TDC for a meeting, might see you Thursday”.

Then, we won’t see him for another week, if we are lucky (he will be off doing what he loved—making things happen in the great outdoors).

After 17 years together, it’s not quite the same. The photo on the wall of the guy with the Fu Man Chu mo and beard still looks over us, but we will move on, I know Kim would not have it any other way.

Kim Forbes.

Chris, Senior Works Officer, Nelson

Chris Clode, Senior Works Officer (Nelson).


DOC is the type of organisation where we often hear about people who live for their work and tackle each day with a passion that is uncommon in many workplaces. Kim Forbes was one of those people who had a vast appetite for his work. He was always scheming about the next project and he loved every minute of it, the highs and the lows. Any slacking or buttoning off would be called out with one of his favourite phrases “where’s your commitment?”

Kim was a hands-on Works Officer who loved to get out there and get stuck in, and he always did so with a huge grin and a wicked sense of humour.

Kim Forbes.

His knowledge of his field of expertise was extensive, and he was always happy to share his experience with others. The contribution Kim made to DOC’s visitor assets in the upper South Island is huge, and the list of completed projects is extensive. His passing is a great loss and he will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

Kim Forbes.

Mark, Works Officer, Hokitika

Mark Nelson, Works Officer (Hokitika).


I had the good fortune to work with Kim on a number of occasions and was always taken by his pragmatic, good natured approach that was capped with a spectacular dose of ‘attention to detail’. His passing will leave a huge hole in the Works Officer ranks and in the lives of all those who knew him professionally and as a friend. His good natured ease and professional approach won many a friend and delivered many a quality project.

Kim’s projects were always driven and, in the end, beautifully delivered. Outside this, visits to the Nelson office were always anticipated. I would hope that Brendon, Chris and Kim were in the office at the end of the hall when I arrived because that meant a lot of very good natured banter and a fair bit of ribbing would be the order of the day. It was a great place to spend an hour or two. A place where work, and the world, were put very clearly into perspective.

One response to A salute to Kim Forbes


    A wonderful tribute to a very dedicated man.