Businessman Hugh Green dies

22:41, Jul 15 2012
hugh green
HUGH GREEN: The Mt Albert philanthropist generated a personal fortune of $350 million, according to the 2011 NBR Rich List.

Irish-born businessman and philanthropist Hugh Green has died at the age of 80.

The Mt Albert resident's wide-ranging business interests generated a personal fortune of $350 million, according to the 2011 NBR Rich List.

His Hugh Green Group is involved in everything from farming to property to gas and oil exploration.

But Green was also recently outed for his philanthropic work, receiving a Queen's Service Medal in the New Year's honours.

Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae performed the investiture at Green's home after his cancer left him too ill to attend a public ceremony.

At the time, Green said it was natural for him to want to give to charity.

"I made a lot of money and I can't spend it. So I decided to give it away and do something for somebody else."

Green's Hugh Green Charitable Trust is worth $50 million and donates its proceeds mainly to medical charities.

The Irish immigrant was the fifth child in a family of eight, born in County Donegal.

After leaving school at the age of 12, Green tried his hand as a sugar cane cutter and cattle drover before picking up a contracting job in Wellington.

From there, he teamed up with friend Barney McCahill and became involved with several major infrastructure projects, including the Ngauranga Gorge reconstruction and the Mt Cook Highway.

Green is survived by wife Moira, five adult children, 12 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

According to the Hugh Green foundation website, Green's business philosophy was simple:
"Work hard, don't borrow unnecessarily, collect what is owed when it's owed, calculate your risks carefully and evolve with the times. Understanding the level of risk you can manage is the key to business success."