Thomas Macarthy - 2012 business laureate
TG Macarthy couldn't resist the promise of striking gold and, as a young man, bid London farewell forever and made off for the colonies.
The precious metal first dragged him, like other dreamers from Europe, to Victoria in Australia in the 1850s but he was soon lured across the Tasman to the Southern Goldfields. The hysteria of the early Otago diggings in 1865 subsided with a gold rush on the West Coast . Macarthy was still only 32 and was always looking for opportunities and like hundreds of others went west too.
Having settled in Charleston, Macarthy found a niche - quenching the miners' thirst. He set up a small brewery and also invested in several mines with those in Reefton proving particularly lucrative.
In 1877, Wellington beckoned and there he bought a brewery in Customhouse Quay and another in Tory Street, the latter of which is still owned by his charitable legacy, the Thomas George Macarthy Trust.
He would go on to give so much to his community, even after his death in 1912.
Thomas George Macarthy is one of six Fairfax Media NZ Business Hall of Fame laureates this year, recognised not just for his brewing enterprises but also his broader business interests. He was a director of many public companies and also a generous benefactor, which he tended to keep under wraps.
He became a respected businessman and made his mark in the Wellington and Manawatu Railway company and a company formed in the late 19th century to build an opera house.
In 1894 he was elected to the Bank of New Zealand board and was also president of the Wellington Racing Club. (His directorship on the BNZ board overlapped with that of writer Katherine Mansfield's father Sir Harold Beauchamp).
And yet he did not marry until he was in his sixties. Son of a Catholic father - a florist - and a Quaker mother, in 1897 Macarthy married 23-year-old Mary Ellen Fitzsimons at St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Wellington's Boulcott Street. She was 40 years his junior. They had no children.
Although Mrs Macarthy was involved in charitable activity while her husband frequently contributed to good causes anonymously, these good deeds were largely unknown to the public in his lifetime. It explained the surprise in the city when it learned of the size of his estate - 500,000 pounds.
The assets included hotel properties, city and suburban residences, some valuable business blocks in the city and beyond, other freehold parcels, shares in other companies as well as the City and Phoenix Brewery in Wellington.
His generosity in life has not faltered since his death 100 years ago.
Mark Cassidy, national manager of business services at the Public Trust which administers the estate, explains that not only is one of the longest running trusts in the country, it is also possibly the largest perpetual charitable trust.
The Thomas George Macarthy Trust has distributed $58.6 million to date for "charitable and educational purposes" in the old Wellington provincial district, defined as the area of the North Island south of Turangi but excluding Taranaki and Hawke's Bay. One of the first bequests was the 1919 endowment of the TG Macarthy chair of Economics at Victoria University. Macarthy's trust last year held a total $75m in assets.
Cassidy said all registered schools, kindergartens, play centres, kohanga reo, Pacific Island language groups and Plunket organisations in the trust area receive donations on a biennial or annual basis and do not need to submit applications. Hospitals and ambulances and care of the elderly also figure prominently on the lists of distributions last year, as do social services and mental health.
The Macarthy Trust provides for as much of the income as the board of governors sees fit to be distributed among registered charities which fall within the remit of Macarthy's will. That board of governors include the Governor General, the Prime Minister and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Wellington.
On average, the trust distributes $2m to $3m a year which must, said Cassidy, make Macarthy the "father of philanthropy" in New Zealand.
The Public Trust itself manages 470 charitable trusts with some $406m in assets in total under management of which $9.5m is goes to funding charitable causes each year.
Mrs Macarthy had been left half the estate upon his death although the Macarthy Trust was also to inherit from his wife if she had no heirs. While she did remarry, she had no children and died in 1934.
Macarthy, who remained active in management until the end, was described in his obituary as being a very quiet, reserved man who never courted publicity. "He was, however, of a kindly nature and ever ready to give unostentatiously in the cause of genuine charity."
Fairfax NZ Business Hall of Fame 2012 laureates
* Graeme Lowe founded Lowe Corporation 40 years ago. It is one of the leaders in the animal by-product processing and exporting industry and employs 400 people peak season. Hasting-based, the company has long supported many Hawke's Bay charities.
* Bill Gallagher Snr in the 1930s founded the firm famous for developing the electric fence. The Hamilton-based group today is world leader for its electric fences in agriculture and security. The firm also makes fuel pumps It has more than 1000 staff worldwide has annual turnover of $200m with distribution channels in 130 countries.
* Sir Graeme Douglas founded Douglas Pharmaceuticals in Auckland in 1967. It is one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical development and manufacturing companies in Oceania and sells 15 of its generic products to 35 countries, with an export turnover of $85 million and 470 staff. He was knighted in 2010 for services to philanthropy and athletics.
* Sir Patrick Higgins is chairman and co-owner of the Higgins Group, one of the country's leading roading construction and civil contracting specialists Higgins based in Palmerston North which has more than 1200 staff. The company has been a long-time supporter of many Manawatu charities and sports bodies.
* Thomas Macarthy (1833-1912) was a Wellington brewer who started out in the industry on the West Coast. A successful businessman, he was known for his generosity to charities. A trust established after his death has so far distributed more than $58.6 million for ''charitable and educational purposes''.
* Mary Jane Milne (1840-1921) was a hatmaker who set up shop with her sister and, later, her brother-in-law too to become Milne and Choyce , now not just a milliner and drapery, but dressmaker too. The company ran for more than a century. Milne, based in Auckland, was known for her benevolence.
The Fairfax Media New Zealand Business Hall of Fame was established in 1994 by Young Enterprise Trust. Each year, six individuals who have contributed to New Zealand's economic and social development are recognised.
The 2012 laureates will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a gala dinner on Thursday 28 June. More information and tickets are available from Young Enterprise on 04 570 0452 or online at www.businesshalloffame.co.nz
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