Couple leaves $1.29 million to Massey University

00:49, Oct 26 2012
Ken and Elizabeth Powell
MILLION-DOLLAR GIVERS: Ken and Elizabeth Powell.

A Palmerston North couple have made the largest donation received by Massey University, destined to be used as scholarships to aid budding technology talent.

Ken and Elizabeth Powell left Massey University an endowment of $1.29 million even though neither had been students at the university.

The late Palmerston North couple had decided they wanted to establish a fund to support the study of technology at Massey.

David Stephens and Rangi Royal
GENEROUS DONATION: David Stephens and Rangi Royal tour the technology department at Massey University.

The Powells did not have children to leave their fortune to, so dedicated their money to establish a fund to support the study of technology in engineering and health.

The target of their donation echoes their career paths.

Mr Powell was an engineer and specialist in aircraft maintenance and a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific as an instrument fitter with the air force.


He died in February, aged 88.

Mrs Powell was a registered nurse who trained at Wellington Hospital and completed her training as a midwife at Palmerston North Hospital, where she worked, as well as at the former Rostrata Maternity Home in the city.

She died in October 2006, aged 96.

Two of the Powells' nephews, Rangi Royal and David Stephens, presented the donation to Massey University yesterday.

"Ken was a very, very clever engineer," Mr Royal said. "For example, he would make new cogs for all the Palmerston North taxi meters whenever prices changed."

Although they had no children, the Powells adored the children of the wider family, he said.

"They lived simply but they were extremely generous with their time for others and the family."

Assistant vice-chancellor and university registrar Stuart Morriss thanked the family for the generous donation, saying they were humbled to receive it.

Manawatu Standard