REMEMBERING RICHARD EVANSON
21 June 1935 - 05 June 2021
Richard devoted his life to creating one of the world’s leading eco-resorts and was passionately committed to enriching the lives of his guests through building a team who feel proud to belong, proactive partnerships with local communities, and embracing sustainability and innovation.
We are proud of the great work and impact Richard had in shaping the tourism industry in Fiji to what it is today. It all started in 1972 when the warmth, loving and caring nature of the Fijian people captured his heart, resulting in him extending his initial four day stay to a lifetime.
Richard ensured that any development on Turtle Island followed environmental best practices, and used regular environmental audits to measure his progress. He had an unwavering commitment to supporting and developing the opportunities for the local villages in our community. With health clinics, education initiatives and job creation projects, he advanced the economic and social outcomes for generations of Yasawan villagers.
Having fallen in love with the Fijian way of life, he had a concern to ensure that the traditions and culture of the Yasawas was not influenced adversely by tourism. Rather, his vision was to provide an authentic Fijian experience to his guests, choosing to make his model of tourism an opportunity to bring about a sense of pride in one’s own heritage and culture, and how it can enrich the lives of others.
Thousands of our Turtle Island family and friends from all over the world have shared their memories and feelings about Richard. From guests of Turtle Island to personal friends and colleagues, the one thing that ties them together is how they’ve been touched by his passion and the gift he has left behind – the gift of community, the gift of Turtle Island, and the gift of an amazing extended family.
We welcome you to read some of these messages below and invite you to share your own stories here firstname.lastname@example.org
Isa Boat 6. What a truly remarkable man. A force of nature, a visionary, an extraordinary man who lived life on his own terms with no apologies. The world would surely be a better place if only there were more people like this. He changed countless lives through his endless community initiatives in Fiji and through his creation of Turtle Island - a place where dreams really do come true.
My life certainly changed forever the day I stepped onto Turtle Island. I am so privileged to have worked by his side and will be forever grateful for his support, guidance and inspiration. I am so sad to hear of his passing, but thankful that the end came peacefully on his beloved island home, surrounded by family.
I know that his spirit will live on, he was always larger than life. I know too that you will do him proud Junior and that you and Racheli will carry that torch with honour and respect. My deep condolences to you and all the family.
Several of our children are Turtle babies. Richard was such a dear friend to us. He entertained us, loved us, comforted us when things were bad and made sure that we knew Turtle Island was our home always.
Rest In Peace Richard. You are now in the company of John. Drinking kava and telling stories with our dear friend Joe. We will miss you!
Our sincerest condolences to Richard’s family and friends, and to all of those who have worked alongside Richard over these many years.
We have had the honor to visit with Richard during each of our trips to Turtle Island and we remember them fondly. He was truly an inspirational man who created something so unbelievably special and everyone who has had the pleasure to experience the island comes away with a true sense of family and fellowship. His generosity to the neighboring communities shows his compassion and commitment to serving others.
He was a true visionary and he created a little“slice of Heaven” here on earth for all of us to enjoy. RIP Richard.
Sarah & Al
You arrived strangers and left family. Decades later the relationships forged on Turtle Island are still bonds. I will forever be grateful for my relationship with Richard, you, Racheli and all the incredible staff on Turtle. It is indeed a magical place, a place that was created in his vision.
My heart goes out to you, Racheli and the entire family.
Crystalyn and I send our deep condolences on Richard's passing. We are 4x visitors, and have another experience booked for next year - your father has built a tremendous legacy.
I recall the first time we landed at the island and Richard Sr. asking us to introduce ourselves - he was genuinely interested in each of his guests. And when he heard on our fourth trip that Crystalyn was a 6th-generation beekeeper, he wanted to show us his latest endeavour, the hives on the island.
Your father will be missed by all of those people he has touched over the many years on Turtle. Our deepest sympathies and regards to the entire Turtle family.
So terribly sorry to hear of Mr Evanson’s passing. Sending prayers of comfort and peace to all who knew him and loved him dearly. He made the world a better place. No doubt he will be missed by many. Rest In Peace.
I first visited Turtle Island and met Richard as a 16 year old and stayed a number of times with my parents (who knew him well). Through Richard, I got to see how he worked so closely with his local villages and supported them as family.
Fortunate enough as a teenager to stay with my sister overnight in the Chiefs house as a guest when our boat broke down late in the afternoon and he made all the arrangements. These are memories that started me on my deeper love for Fiji and its people.
A life well-lived with a positive impact on so many. Condolences to you and the Turtle family.
Richard Evanson (Snr) was a good man and a dear friend. His passing is a great loss for the Fijian tourism industry and the people of Yasawa. We thank him with utmost sincerity for all that he has done in shaping the industry.
His contributions since the 1970s have made an enormous impact on the lives of many Fijians and in keeping the local community and environment protected. He has truly built a treasure here in Fiji, and I'm sure his legacy will live on through his family.
Hon. Faiyaz Koya
A place to feel true serenity. I am grateful for the man, Richard, who created this place on Earth and I send my love to his dear family and friends. It's true, I left my heart on Turtle Island.
Richard, you shall be missed and remembered forever.
Suzanne and Rob XOXO
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones as you mourn this great loss. The vision, commitment and generosity of Mr. Evanson Sr. will be missed and unmatched in this world. Much love to all the family!
Issssa! A great man indeed,a role model and a wise teacher! Vinaka vakalevu B6 for all that you have contributed and all the footsteps that you have left back for us to follow...May you rest high till that glorious morning!
Our deep and heartfelt condolences to the Evansons family...Tons of Love and prayers!
Richard Evanson Snr can best be described as a visionary whose imprint will forever be part and parcel of our industry’s journey.
For five decades, he crafted Turtle Island into a destination and brand of environmental integrity and helped model the necessity of conservation for Fijian tourism properties.
His accolades as a successful tourism operator can only be outshone by his environmental legacy and the countless economic, educational, and social developments he provided the people of his island’s home district, Nacula and the wider Yasawa Islands.
Mr Evanson passed away on his beloved Turtle Island on Saturday, 5 June and we join his family, staff and community in honouring a generous mentor and pioneer of our industry.
Our deepest condolences to the entire Evanson Family and the Turtle Family. Thank you so much for creating such a magical place on earth. We will forever remember the impact you have made on so many lives and will continue to celebrate your life and legacy.
Much love, Soto Tale
Cartland and I were fortunate enough to meet him and spend some time with him and hear his stories. We were so fortunate to discover his dream and enjoy the fruits of his labors. Our very best thoughts and prayers to his immediate and extended family and our hopes that your amazing local endures as his vision and his very competent progeny works towards. The most amazing place on this earth!!
I am saddened to hear of the passing of a Gentleman of the Stature of a Man who had such a vision and foresight for the beauty of life. We will all one day be in Heaven. With that I leave you with this
STRAIGHT THROUGH MY HEART TODAY BY TRUTHS OWN HAND IS DRIVEN-GOD NEVER TAKES ONE THING AWAY, BUT SOMETHING ELSE IS GIVEN.
Much Love sent to the Turtle Island Family. Will catch up on my return booked for August 2022.
This was a person who took the gifts that was provided to him and transformed it into a vision that was real, palpable and loving. He ensured that his vision would benefit so many people with the proper respect every human being deserves. My wife and I spent 14 days back in September 2012 and the memories of peace, love and fraternity will never leave us...I know his son will follow his spirit...I wish I could go back to the only paradise I experienced on this earth! Long live his family of hundreds of fantastic children.
RIP you deserve it...Love to all his extended family.
John & I are so very sorry to hear of Richard’s passing. He was a great visionary and humanitarian. Whether directly or indirectly, his legacy will live on in each and every individual that he touched. Please accept our sincere condolences.
All The Best,
John & Hilary
Our heartfelt condolences to you Juniors the Evanson Family and the Turtle Island Family for the sad news of Tai Rusi as he was known in the 1970s. May beautiful memories bring you peace during this difficult time.
I would also like to sincerely thank Tai Rusi for the care and moral support given to our Nacula tikina and especially Somolevu Catholic School and my home village Vuaki. We are with you spiritually with our days praying for our heavenly Father to grant him eternal rest. Rest in God’s love and peace Tai Rusi.
Richard was an amazing man.
He had a vision of perfection achieved
On earth, he came close,
if only momentary
It was filled with the Yasawas, inhabitants
of this land, left from the great flood’s recession,
a tip of paradise promised on earth
He shared it with the world
some recipients found worthy,
others not, a telling of human kind
May his spirit inhabit your dreams an eternity,
keep you whole and well
long after the myth of him is forgotten
and the land returned to the sea.
Oh my, such sad news and I’m so sorry for the loss to your family, this island and the community. He was a larger than life visionary and we have all benefited from his creation and generosity.
He will be forever present on beautiful Turtle Island and through the lovely people there who make us all feel like family. My deepest condolences to your family at this time.
We are saddened to hear of Richard’s passing - a wonderful man who has left a truly amazing legacy. With love from the Menzies Family
We were one of the lucky couples that was able to meet and dine with Richard and ask him questions of course. He was definitely one of a kind. We are sending prayers and thoughts for all of you as you all were his family!!
We will be forever grateful for our TURTLE ISLAND experiences (we've been twice) and also happened to be there while his sister was visiting so we got to hear her early stories of Turtle as well. We hope to visit again one day!!
Bula Bula RIP Richard!
Our hearts are heavy. He was a wonderful man and will be missed. Prayers to all…
Alda let me know last Saturday of RE’s passing, my heartfelt and deepest condolences to the entire Turtle family. Bosso was my mentor for discovering Fiji and it was an honor to have worked for the Vancouver Office for 10 years, sending lucky guests to the most beautiful island in the world.
RE will be missed but the legend he created, Turtle Island, will continue so in a sense so will he.
Bob & Ann
In my three visits to Turtle Island, it was always a pleasure to visit with Richard and all the wonderful family of Turtle Island. He will be in my prayers as will the family of Turtle Island.
We’re so sorry to hear of Richard Sr’s passing. He was there to greet us on the mainland on our first trip to Turtle in 2008. What an amazing man (and family). We love our Turtle family and will be praying for you all. Planning to see you next year...when we can give hugs for our condolences. God bless you all…
We are so sad to hear about the passing of Richard Sr. He was a great friendly man with a vision to make an island home for all visitors to Turtle Island! We are planning to return there in the late summer if Fiji opens its doors!
He will be truly missed. Love and prayers to all the Evanson family. RIP
Our sincerest condolences to you Richard, Racheli, your family's and all of the Turtle Island family. We enjoyed our visits with Sr., from our first trip in 1993, Christmas and New Year 2009 and again in 2017 with our daughter. Hoping to see our Turtle family next year when we hope everything opens back up!
I’m saddened to read that Richard passed on our anniversary, while we were reminiscing of our beautiful wedding 24 years ago on the island. Our love and deepest sympathies go out to you all.
Our prayers of love and support pour out to your family. We have been so fortunate to have experienced Richard's vision for this Turtle Island paradise and to be a part of this rich Fijian culture. We are so grateful to have known such a wonderful man. Big hugs returned to your family now, in time of sorrow.
Rule #3: Glory be to you God, for we are blessed by you Lord.
Sorry to hear of Your dad’s passing. A true visionary who achieved so much. We were lucky enough to model for various brochures for the island in the 90’s, and it will always hold a special place in our families hearts. We met Richard then, and it is wonderful that his children will continue his great work.
All the best,
Marianne and Paul
Sincere condolences Junior, Racheli and the Evanson family and Turtle family as we all grieve the sad loss of such an iconic and visionary leader in our industry. For sure his legacy lives on. May your Dad rest in love.
Sending love & prayers and thinking of you all at this time xox
My heart goes out to the entire Turtle family on the news of Richard Evanson's passing. His positive influence on me and my immediate family cannot be overstated, and continues to this day. I am grateful to have experienced the love of Turtle Island, which he and Joe N created.
Rest in Peace, Uncle Dick.
Condolences to the Turtle Island family. He has definitely been instrumental for tourism in Fiji and has left behind a great legacy. May all of you as family find peace in this time of sorrow .
Our deepest condolences. What a great person Richard Evanson Sr (Boat 6) was! I always enjoyed talking with him during our visits to Turtle. A great loss to all. May his family find solace & strength in the great memories of a life lived fully. Rest in peace, Richard Sr.
I am so sorry to hear in his passing. The island is a magical place for us who have had the honour of staying and exploring. My husband and I feel more so as we were married there with everyone, so you are always part of our extended family. We send many heartfelt blessings to you all during this time.
Sincere condolences from our family to yours, your father was an American visionary who came to be one of the few first Americans to come out to Fiji with a dream! My father and mother worked with Richard in the early seventies and were food friends. Sincere condolences to the turtle island family at this difficult time
We feel for your loss as being part of the Turtle family is a very real thing and losing my wife was a time when the Turtle Island family showed my children and I amazing support. The most sincerest condolences to the whole Turtle Island family. He will be missed but he will also live on through the island itself.
The Allende family
Aaron and I want to extend our deepest sympathies to the Evanson family and the entire Turtle community. Richard had spent his life giving, sharing, and purely making a positive impact in Fiji and for the Yasawan people. We are so very grateful that we have been able to experience the legacy that Richard had built.
Junior, Racheli, and the entire Turtle Family...You are in our prayers.
Pamela & Aaron
Our deepest heartfelt condolences to the Evanson Family and Turtle Island Family as a whole. No one can deny the fact of the immeasurable timely contributions and assistance provided by Turtle Island to us. We do pray for our Almighty’s comfort be with the Evansons and Turtle Island family during this sad time. Isa rest well Tai Rusi.
I am sorry for your loss. The legacy he leaves behind will live on with the family and island which he created. I am honored that I am able to be a part of the extended Turtle Island family. We are very much looking forward to our return next year.
What He created is truly one of the most beautiful and welcoming places in earth. Rest in peace Richard.
Our deepest condolences to the entire Evanson Family and the Turtle Family. Thank you very much Boat 6 for everything you have done for me in my Rugby Career especially when I was in the Fiji team. Rest In Peace Boat 6
Sending condolences to your family during this sad time. Your father’s vision and commitment to the island is not only legendary, but inspiring to all. It was a privilege to have met him and experience one of his famous island tours. He was a proud man and rightly so!
Chris and Kylie. BLBR
God bless you and all that you have done for Tourism in Fiji, and my sincere condolences to his beautiful family, all my love and prayers xoxox