Owen Glenn gives $80m to fight child abuse

02:43, Jul 17 2012
Owen Glenn in Otara
Owen Glenn with Barry Spicer, chief executive of the Glenn Family Foundation, and Auckland mayor Len Brown.
Owen Glenn in Otara
Owen Glenn and kamatua Gray Theodore share a hongi at the announcement in Otara.
Owen Glenn in Otara
Owen Glenn makes the funding announcement at the Otata Music and Arts Centre.

Millionaire businessman Owen Glenn has given $80 million to prevent child abuse in New Zealand, with the first $8m going to a pilot scheme to educate young men in Otara.

Glenn announced today at the Otara Music and Arts Centre that the Glenn Family Foundation would put the money towards health, education and enterprise programmes to help stem the tide of child abuse.

He said the country's domestic violence and child abuse rate was "a great shame" on the people of New Zealand.

Education was a major part of his strategy and vision for a better New Zealand and that positive change could only be achieved through a collaborative approach and effort from Government, community leaders, police and citizens.

The Otara scheme, called Coaching Boys in to Men, would target young men through education, enterprise and sport and try to provide them with positive role models and the respect needed to ensure they became good members of the community.

Glenn, who lived in Otara for two years as child in the 1960s, said giving the community a "hand-up" was the start of this process, and if it was successful similar schemes should be implemented throughout New Zealand.

"Education allows people to succeed, allows people to dream and allows people to achieve whatever their dreams are and that's fundamentally what it's all about," he said.

The remainder of the money would be provided to community schemes over the coming years.

Prime Minister John Key said Glenn should serve as an example to other wealthy New Zealanders.

"Owen's been extremely generous to New Zealand over recent years."

This included giving $7.5 m to the Auckland business school and funding part of the AUT Millennium Centre.

"I think it's a great example for other very well off New Zealanders to follow," Key said.

Glenn had a passionate interest in helping at-risk children, particularly in South Auckland, and there was always a place for individuals to work alongside the Government, Key said.

However, it would need to take advice before deciding whether a Royal Commission, which Glenn has offered to fund, was necessary.

"The Government spends an enormous amount of money on the welfare of youngsters and of at risk New Zealanders. It's a very complex issue... I think the Government is doing a lot but it's great that other people are prepared to help and do a little more."


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