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Bernard (Bernie) Preston

May 19, 2024

Suddenly on Sunday, May 19, 2024, aged 80 years. Dearly loved son of the late Cecil and Phyllis, loved brother of Cecily Wheeler, Vivien Barraclough, and the late Anne Agnew, loved brother-in-law, uncle, cousin and friend. Messages can be left on Bernie’s tribute page at A gathering to celebrate Bernie’s life will be held at the Hokitika RSA, 22 Sewell Street, Hokitika, on Saturday, May 25, 2024, commencing at 2.00pm.


  1. Tish Kelliher

    Condolences to the family. I worked for Bernie many years ago and enjoyed my time there.

    • David Verrall

      I will miss our occasional chats when dog walking, and your valuable contributions to Westland’s heritage and history are invaluable and treasured. Tight lines, old friend.

    • Alison Cowlin

      RIP Bernie,
      You were a great Boss When I worked at Preston’s Bakery Condolences to the family ❤️

    • Lyn Robinson

      To Cecily and Viv, my deepest sympathy to you both.Will keep fond memories of Bernie. Hugs from Lyn Robinson(Bradley)

  2. Robyn Veale (Dowell)

    So many memories both with family and our time together at Preston’s bakery. You were a valued family member and friend. Love and thoughts to Viv, Cec and family’s.
    Love Robyn.

    • David McClunie

      A man of principle. His loss is enormous.

  3. Leanne McGill

    So sad to hear of Bernard’s passing he was the best boss ever!!! I spent many years working at Preston’s bakery the good old days condolences to his family Another Hokitika Icon gone so sad 🥲

    • Shaun Drylie

      Condolences to the Preston family. A true West Coast icon who has left so many wonderful legacies!

    • Jennie Roberts

      Another Hokitika identity gone, RIP Bernie condolences to his sisters and extend family and friends

      • Gaylene Wallace

        Condolences to Bernie’s family and 🧡

      • Margaret Suggett

        Sincere condolences to Cecily and family at this sad time.
        Margaret Suggett (Kearns)

  4. TonyCopping

    Condolences to family and friends.

    • Henry Cowie

      Bernie was a good man and a straight shooter.
      Always dependable and gave his all to the Coast and the people he had dealings with.
      Rest in peace old mate… you were a great boss to me at Preston’s Bakery. I went on to teach a lot of people the skills you taught me👨‍🍳👏👏👏🙏

  5. Linda Gardyne

    Condolences to family and friends.

  6. Alison Armstrong

    To Cecily, Vivien and families. There are far too many memories to think about. We, the Baty family were very fortunate to be part of the Sale Street clan of the time. Our catches up with Bernie were an absolute must on our Hokitika visits.

    • Peter Mitchell

      Sincere condolences on Bernies passing. A true West Coaster

    • Carole Jones

      Condolences to Bernie’s family. Fond memories of your rendition of “The Gambier” at the Gym.We will all miss your company and singing Bernie.RIP

  7. Trixi & Murray Montagu

    Condolences to Friends and Family of Bernie

    • Eileen McLeod

      Condolence’s to Family and Friends of Bernie’s.

      • Wendy Meyet

        Condolences to Bernie’s family. A great friend to both our families. RIP Bernie

  8. Rosemary Matthews

    Very sad news, you will be so missed in our community Bernie RIP 🌹🌹🌹

  9. Diane King

    Cecily and Vivienne this news has come as a shock to me, and no doubt countless others. Bernie was one of those Coasters who would go on for ever, and be there for a catchup. He played such a big role in Hokitika, as a friend, boss, and colleague. My thoughts go back to Hokitika Review days, the fun times we had, Bernie was there as our big brother, making sure us younger members were ok, and enjoying ourselves. My heartfelt thoughts go out to you and families. Will catch up with you all at his farewell. When I saw him last year, he told me he would be 80 this year, didn’t look happy about that, but like I mentioned earlier, he was always there for so many.

    Fond memories
    Diane King

    • Rose Nolan

      Terribly sorry to hear of Bernie passing. He was an active member of the Community and will be missed.
      Condolences to family and friends. RIP

      • Ray Baty


  10. Kaye and Jim McNabb

    Sympathy to The family. Such a well known and respected member of the Hokitika community. A fap at the Friday night table.

  11. Anthea & Rex

    Now Is The Hour – you sang it well last Thursday – we all around with our arms linked 🙂 Thks for your remedies and all the heritage work in respect of our forebears.

  12. Suzanne Theyers

    Bernie was a lovely man. A great community person and baker. You’ll be missed Bernie. Rest in Peace.

  13. Johnson Deborah

    My first Boss many moons ago and a great friend to Dad(Barry Johnson) bet there are some great catch ups going on in paradise. Sympathy to the Family.

  14. Grant Dymons

    RIP Bernie hopefully Thrifty be up there with a beer ready for you. Condolences to family and friends

  15. Grant Symons

    RIP Bernie hopefully Thrifty be up there with a beer ready for you. Condolences to family and friends

  16. John Ryall

    R I P Bernie A true West Coaster

  17. Chris Windley

    Saddened by the loss of Bernie, he made me feel welcome when I moved to the Coast and he will be missed by the people who knew him, fished with him and shot with him. RIP Bernie, you will not be forgotten. Our condolences to your family on your loss.

  18. Noeline

    My condolences to the family of Bernie
    A great knowledgeable chap
    Will miss his singing at the gym when the good old songs were playing

  19. Betty and Allan (late) Andrews

    Bernie those pies of yours and a good old yarn will always be a great memory of you.
    May you catch up with many on your “next journey”

  20. Vernon Baty and Ann McKay

    My best friend and a lifelong mate. Berns passing has come as a complete shock to us. It was just a few short weeks ago he stayed with us.
    In our younger days we spent so much time together doing the West Coast outdoor activities, hunting, duck shooting, white baiting, tramping and right up to recent times flyfishing.
    Bern was the sort of friend that even if we had not met for several months we could begin chatting like we met yesterday. So long my friend we will miss you.

  21. Karen Jones

    Bernie, you will be missed. You are a warrior fighting for justice and the truth. You spotted the covid scam a mile off, and remained jab free. Rest assured, we will continue the fight thinking of you.

  22. Hellen Morris

    RIP Bernie,you will be sadly missed.
    Deepest sympathy to your family.

  23. Alan Pegley

    I received the shock news whilst in London. A great mate we fished,hunted,skied, told tall stories and drank (sometimes too much) together. His favourite tipple was Jamesons so I will have one for him in Cork in 2 weeks. I’m gutted I can’t make the service but my thoughts will be with you all. Farewell my friend RIP

  24. Lynda Riley johnson

    Sad news he was a great mate of my father Barry johnson

  25. Mick Butler

    RIP Bernie. Always great chatting with you. Condolences to family and friends.

  26. Karyn Davis

    Thinking of Bernie’s family at this sad time. Such a gentleman. RIP Bernie.

  27. Wayne Chapman

    So sorry to hear of Bernie’s shock passing. A long time since we had some great times together in the Army and after. RIP mate. Will catch up someday.

  28. Lee Baty.

    To Cecily,Vivienne and families.
    Bernard was a kind and generous man and a dear family friend.
    So many memories of the good times we had together.
    Rest in peace,Bernie.You will be sadly missed.
    Until we meet again.
    Lee,Paul,Justine and Shawn Baty.

  29. Natalie Tiffin

    I’m very shocked & saddened to hear of Bernard’s sudden passing. He was a good man & a fantastic boss back in the day at Preston’s Bakery.
    I send my condolences & deepest sympathy to the family.
    RIP Bernard

  30. Shona and Murray Marshall

    Really sad to hear this news, Bernie was one of the large extended people I got to know in the Revue days run by Roy Stevenson. I had an interesting conversation with him at our last cancer raffle day, he was very generous, thank you Bernie and rest in peace, I did like your spirit. Condolences to his extended family and friends.

  31. Cheryl Hutchison

    Deepest sympathy to Bernies family and friends. RIP
    Cheryl and Brian Hutchison

  32. Greg Maitland

    A great loss for sure , a really sharp , compassionate man who stood for justice

  33. Griff Syron

    R.I.P Bernie sadly missed. Always a great help for my Parents on their last move.

    Good laughs on duck and fishing trips when you and Allan Pegley and co started telling stories about the one that got away.

  34. Di johnston

    Another good bugger left us you were very good to mum and dad your kindness will never be forgotten R I P Bernie

  35. Gordon Wells

    A big shock at Bernie’s passing , I first met Bernie over 50 years ago, when his Dad and the Rabbit Shooting Team would come out to Kowhitirangi and shoot Rabbits on the farm., Then there was Preston’s Pies Shop, , Over the last 30 years, or so we shot Clay Targets and Ducks together , and I often would visit Bernie for a Coffee and talk for hours , Bernie will be sadly missed. HOKITIKA has lost a very good guy, who did a lot for the Town,
    RIP Bernie

  36. Ray Baty

    I had known Bernie for 75 years living opposite in Sale St. When I moved to London Bernie came over and we had a great holiday before he went to the US. In Melbourne now I would always go to see him in Hoki on my NZ trips. Our walk from the Cascade to Lake McKerrow was one to never forget. Bernie’s work at Heritage Hokitika will always be remembered. To Cecily and Viv my sympathy. The loss of a great man.

  37. John Nancekivell

    We were sorry to hear of Bernie’s passing,he was a great man. RIP

  38. Steve Page

    It was an honour and privilege for me to know Bernie. Particularly as a fellow truth seeker and freedom lover.

    I will be forever grateful for the generosity his shown toward our community and, in particular, for his financial support of the Hokitika Healers in acquiring our HBOT chamber which we would simply not have been able to do without him!

    Bernie was also instrumental in the creation of the Westland Enquirer and its distribution to all the residents of Westland so that they may know the truth and be part of the freedom loving community that Bernie was such an important part of.

    Thank you for your service Bernie. You will be sorely missed by so many. May you now know the peace, love and freedom that you fought for with such passion in your last few years. God Bless You.

  39. Ann Bradley

    Bernard, may you Rest In Peace.

    What a loss this is to our community.
    You were an intelligent man, a thinker and a valued member of Heritage Hokitika. You will be sorely missed. You always said ‘I’m just a Baker’. But you were so much more.
    My heartfelt sympathy to Bernard’s family at his sudden passing.

  40. Bev Coll

    Such sad news. So many memories that go back many years. I remember after a squash tournament when we lived in Hokitika, a group of us went to Bernies original home. There was nothing for supper so we persuaded him to go down to the bakery. He returned with a generous selection of food. Great supper. Great music. Then there was the ski trip to the top of the glacier by plane that Michael organized with a small group from Hokitika which he always said was a trip of a life time. I will miss the chats we had over lunch.
    Your passing will be a huge loss to the town. Sorry I can’t attend your final farewell. I would have liked to listen to the many tributes. R.I. P.

  41. Jeff Sherman

    Sincere Condolences to the Preston family. Bernie was a true West Coaster and will be fondly remembered by all who had the pleasure of his company from the bakery, to the footy field, the great outdoors and the Streets of Hokitika. RIP Bernie.

  42. Margaret Philip

    Great memories Bern of good times and Hokitika parties in our younger days. Love to Cecily and Viv.
    Margaret Philip.(Muirhead)

  43. John Baty

    Very sad here hear of Bernie’s passing. As already mentioned by the Baty family we were Neighbours from when we moved to Sale Street in 1947. Always enjoyed a catchup with Bernie during my visits to the Home Town.
    Rest In Peace Bernie

  44. Ian and Janice Harrison

    Farewell Bernie. You gave driving lessons to all of our children. We shared meals ,hunting , fishing ,ducks and whitebait, along with laughter debate and and amazing friendship. Go well Bernie

  45. Diane & John Craig

    Very sad to hear this news. RIP bernie. Condolences to the family

  46. Justin and Pam Wells

    We were very sad to hear of Bernies passing our sincerest sympathy to his family. I will never forget the good times I had duck shooting in the silver pines with Bernie. I had a good yarn with Bernie down at the river about 3 weeks ago. A very good man that we will never forget. R I P Bernie

  47. Nadia Tainui

    To Cecily and Vivienne and family,
    I’m sorry to hear of Bernie’s passing. He was one of our families real characters. It’s hard to think of the early days in Hokitika without Bernie featuring somewhere.
    I wish I could be there celebrating his life with you today. I’m sure he will have a great send off and there will be many tales told of his colourful life.
    Love to you all

  48. Peter Thorn

    Condolences from the Thorn Family.

  49. Peter and Jeanette Howat

    Our condolences to Bernie’s family. Bernie was a great citizen who contributed much to Hokitika and Westland and will missed by the community.
    Peter and Jeanette Howat , Perth Australia

  50. Marieann Keenan

    Sending Keenan family condolences to the Preston family. We remember Bernie for all his community work especially for the Heritage society. A real loss to Hokitika and for your family.

  51. Simon Rankin

    Sad news. Hope he was given a grand sending off. Will seem strange not to bump into him when home again. Loved working after school at the bakery & I still follow his business principles today with my work. I still wear his quote like a badge of honour. ‘You were the best dish washer I ever had.’ – well Bern you were some baker and more, a great man of Hokitika – rest easy now. Condolences to all the wider Preston family.

  52. Kay, carolyn and Jeff Moen

    I was saddened to learn of the passing of Bernard. He was a good friend to my late husband Robin and he shared many adventures with him and Vern. My condolences to the family

  53. Pam Crisp

    Bernard was a wonderful neighbour and friend over many years. We will miss him. He was an important touchstone with Hokitika, and part of our lives. We especially acknowledge his friendship with our late mother, Milo Breeze. In Mum’s later years Bernard would pop over most mornings with the ChCh Press and stay for a cuppa and a laugh with Mum, and whoever else may have been visiting at the time. When Mum passed away Bernard extended his kindness to the late Tess Boyd, over the road in Sale Street. Those small acts of kindness and what makes community and they cannot be underestimated. Our sincere condolences to Cecily and Vivienne, and with many fond memories of our time together as children and teens growing up in Hokitika.


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