One of NZ's best friends mourned

Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012

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The World Class New Zealand network is mourning the loss of one of its members - English peer Lord Denman who worked for 40 years opening doors for New Zealand businesses in Britain and the Middle East.

He was honoured for his work building connections to support Kiwi firms internationally at the 2011 World Class New Zealand awards where he was presented with the Friend of New Zealand award.

The World Class Network is a global group of Kiwis and friends to this country committed to helping develop New Zealand's competitiveness and exports.

The 96-year-old's contribution to the country was summed up by chairman of the judges John Stace, who knew him for 40 years.

"He never missed an opportunity in London or elsewhere around the world to talk fondly about New Zealand and campaign for tourism or trade on behalf of this country," Stace said.

His connection to New Zealand was established after Lord Denman served as a board member of the British-based NMA (National Mortgage Agency), which financed farmers. It later merged with Wright Stevenson and Co to form Wrightson NMA.

He served as a director of Challenge Corporation, which later became Fletcher Challenge, and worked alongside Kiwi business leaders such as the late Sir Ron Trotter and Malcolm McConnell.

He was a director of several British companies, served on the British Export Council, and was a former adviser on Middle East affairs to the then British prime minister Edward Heath.

Born Charles Spencer Denman in July 1916, he was awarded the Military Cross in World War II and later the Knight Grand Cross of St Francis.

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