The Rule Foundation is named for Peter Rule. Born in Gisborne in 1931, Peter was passionate about flying. He co-piloted a flight from England to NZ over two months in his early 20s, and joined the Air Force in 1954. Peter spent two summers on assignment in Antarctica, where he survived a much-publicised plane crash onto the ice in whiteout conditions and was rescued after several days holed up in an igloo. In the 1960s Peter was seconded to the United Nations, and spent some years as an observer in Korea and Syria, rising in rank to Squadron Leader. He was awarded an MBE in the 1972 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
In the mid-70s, Peter was told that intelligence services had observed him fraternising too closely with a man in Korea. Typical of the era, his Air Force and likely Foreign Affairs prospects were cut short. He was devastated.
Peter’s friends in New Zealand’s arts community encouraged him into arts administration. He managed the Central Regional Arts Council from 1977 to 1987, where he actively promoted the fledgling crafts (such as pottery, weaving, and carving). Peter was an early supporter of the renaissance of Māori arts through the 1970s. A career highlight was his curation of the Kahurangi exhibition in Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympic Games.
Peter committed suicide in 1987, aged 56, having suffered depression for many years. In his will he left the balance of his estate to be used for the benefit of gay people. The sale of Korean ceramics he had collected, and that were displayed at Auckland Museum, provided the basis for the Rule Foundation’s capital fund.