Duncan Matthews, The Rule Foundation

Duncan Matthews

The Rule Foundation

The Rule Foundation charitable trust was established in 2008 to enable the funds left from Peter Rule’s estate to be used to advance the health, wellbeing and visibility of the Rainbow community in Aotearoa.  

Peter Rule was an adventurer; he was a pilot, an artist and a diplomat. He enjoyed a distinguished military career that spanned the 1960s and 70s, beginning as a Squadron Leader and progressing into many roles and unique projects. 

Official Portrait Of Squadron Leader Peter Rule. May 1972

Peter was selected as one of five pilots for an RNZAF Antarctic flight where he survived a plane crash. He was Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Defence, he worked as a Military Liaison Officer with the United Nations Military Armistice Commission at Panmumjon, South Korea, he spent two years as Observer with the UN Truce Supervisor Organisation in Syria and Israel. Peter was awarded the MBE “for distinguished services to the RNZAF and the Ministry of Defence, particularly during two tours of duty as NZ Military Representative, United Nations Command, South Korea.” His distinguished career in the military, and positions he held, speak to his capability as a pilot and diplomat. 

During this era of non-acceptance, Peter’s promotions ceased and he was pressured by senior hierarchy to leave the RNZAF, when it was discovered he was gay. Despite this significant setback, Peter went on to rediscover himself, becoming a successful arts administrator. Tragically however, Peter suffered from depression and in 1987, just one year after the passing of The Homosexual Law Reform Act, he committed suicide. 

“The part of [my] estate which has not been specifically made over… is intended to assist in helping gay people. This may be towards those who have had difficulty in coming to terms with their lifestyle and the related feelings of isolation and loneliness, or may in other ways disadvantaged, or it may be equally useful to provide special opportunities for development.”- Peter Rule 

Managing the trust 

The Rule Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees who volunteer their time. The Foundation’s Trustees bring together many years of private and public sector experience in counselling, cultural sector management, education, health, information technology, marketing, project management, recruitment, and quality improvement. The Foundation has undergone rapid growth in recent times, being asked to administer the Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund – part of reparations for those convicted prior to The Homosexual Law Reform Act – on behalf of the government. 

We spoke to chairperson of the board, Duncan Matthews. Duncan is no stranger to management of community organisations. He has served as Deputy Chair of the Ministry for Youth Development Partnership Fund Board and previously led RainbowYOUTH and OutLine. 

Duncan feels a strong sense of responsibility to make sure the funds the board presides over are wisely administered with the best possible outcome for the Rainbow community whilst honouring Peter Rule’s legacy. 

Accounting for the Foundation 

Like many growing organisations, the Foundation’s accounting systems started out simply on an Excel spreadsheet. Later when it became clear the Excel approach was no longer viable, Duncan reached out to Andrew at The Accounting Hub for accounting advice. 

Since coming onboard with The Accounting Hub, the Foundation’s accounting system has been upgraded into a cloud based Xero accounting system and Duncan and his small team work happily with Holly for bookkeeping support and Helen and Andrew for general accounting support. 

“Andrew and the team at The Accounting Hub are straightforward, friendly and professional. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to other community organisations or small businesses, which I have in fact done several times.” 

The Accounting Hub feel privileged to be part of this honourable cause and thoroughly enjoy helping non-profit organisations like the Rule Foundation is improving circumstances for their communities.