Business, sport and wine make Sir Graeme

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 05:00 02/06/2014
Graeme Avery
SIR WINE: Graeme Avery at his Hawke's Bay vineyard.

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Hawke's Bay winemaker Graeme Avery has had his service to business and sport recognised with a knighthood in the Queens Birthday honours list.

Avery founded Sileni Estates Winery, publisher Adis International helped create the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health.

Being named a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit was "a pleasant and humble surprise" for Avery, who said his wife and children were thrilled to see his success honoured.

While he will be formally known as Sir Graeme, Sileni staff and other colleagues would still see him as "plain old Graeme, but one or two staff may now need to give me some respect," he joked.

Avery first made his mark in New Zealand business with Adis International, a medical publishing company he started from scratch in 1963.

The company grew to have offices in 10 countries and employed 400 staff by the time of Avery's retirement in 1997.

He founded Sileni Wine Estates that same year with Grant Edmonds and is the current president and chief executive.

Sileni has grown to be one of New Zealand's top 10 wine producers by volume, which exports to nearly 80 countries.

Avery lives in Hastings and his contributions to the Hawke's Bay region include helping to launch the "Hawke's Bay Wine Country" brand, Food Hawke's Bay and the Hawke's Bay Farmers Market. He was also chairman of the New Zealand Food and Wine Tourism Network.

He led the team involved in creating a partnership with the Auckland University of Technology and since 2009 has served as chairman of the AUT Millennium Ownership Trust.

AUT and Avery partnered to build the $30 million Millennium Institute of Sport and Health, an elite sport and fitness academy for top athletes.

"Like any long career, it is very hard to choose just one or two defining moments," Avery said, who lives in Hastings.

Avery is not short on accolades and honours, being awarded an honorary doctorate by AUT in 2006 and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007.

In August he is to be inducted into the Business Hall of Fame.

He said the knighthood would push him to not rest on his laurels and keep contributing to the community.

"With this [knighthood] I will go harder, I suppose, to prove that I've done enough to earn it".

Avery said the themes of collaboration, innovation and team work were both key ingredients for success in business and sport, the two fields he is being honoured for service to.

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"My success, like in any company or team, would have been nothing without all of the support and hard work of those people around me," Avery said. 

- Stuff

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