On Sunday we lost our very dear friend William McAloon. Along with the terrible blow to his wife Courtney, his family and friends, William’s death leaves a huge gap in the visual arts community in New Zealand and the conservation of our historical memory.
For the last seven years William has been curator of Historical New Zealand Art at Te Papa and you had to be up early in the morning to find a fact in that domain not already tucked away in his head. Over many, many lunches at Sweet Mother's Kitchen we had the rare pleasure of what in retrospect were relaxed master classes on our early contemporary art history.
That is not to say that life was always a breeze. William sometimes seemed to be in too small a boat to cope with the storms he faced and it was to his great delight that he had Courtney alongside to debate, entertain, support and love him.
William leaves behind him an impressive array of publications, some terrific purchases for Te Papa, and an enduring memory of a man with great taste who still thought facts were important and that history mattered.