Alan Dempster, director of information technology services at Victoria University of Wellington, died last week in a farming accident.
Dempster joined Victoria University in the early 1980s as a lecturer in what was then the department of mathematics, statistics and operational research. He then revisited the UK, where he grew up, to undertake postgraduate research, returning to New Zealand in 1992. He worked as a consultant on a number of major projects, including Kiwibank, Trustbank and the Department for Courts, before rejoining VUW as director of ITS in 2004.
“Alan was involved in many IT projects at VUW, but two particularly significant ones were the $1.7 million upgrade of the university server room last year and the rollout of wireless hotspot technology to Victoria’s four campuses earlier this year,” says university spokesman Anthony Paltridge.
Dempster was also founding chairman and current chairman of metropolitan network operator CityLink. “There’s a cloud over the company at the moment. A lot of sorrow,” says managing director Neil de Wit. “He was a great guy and widely respected in the IT industry.”
Dempster was working on his lifestyle block, at Pauatahanui near Wellington, on the side of a hill, when the tractor and mower he was using toppled over.
He was found trapped under the machine suffering from fatal injuries, according to a police spokeswoman. An inquest will be held in due course. He is survived by his wife and two children.