Top business leaders honoured

16:00, Dec 30 2012
Allan Bollard
Alan Bollard

Publisher Wendy Pye, philanthropist Owen Glenn, engineer Bill Buckley and former Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard are among the business leaders recognised in the New Year honours list.

For services to business and education, Pye is made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

As founder and managing director of the Wendy Pye Group, Dame Wendy has built one of the world's most successful educational export companies.

Wendy Pye
Wendy Pye

Her businesses specialise in publishing children's learning materials for literacy and maths in print and online. Her group's titles have sold more than 218 million copies in more than 20 countries.

"It's good for an Aussie to get something like this," said Dame Wendy, who hails from Western Australia but makes her home in New Zealand.

Describing the honour as a great accolade, she said she was "almost in shock" on hearing about it, "but it's a celebration of what we can achieve as a nation.


Owen Glenn
Owen Glenn

"It's a special award for me because it celebrates our quality of education and what we do for the world."

Services to philanthropy made Glenn a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Sir Owen made his fortune in transport and logistics and a year ago sold the multinational firm he founded, OTS Logistics.

Bill Buckley
Bill Buckley

Over the years he has backed many public projects, including a US$5.4 million (NS$6.6m) donation in 2005 to help build the University of Auckland Business School, which now bears his name.

In July he pledged $80m to help prevent child abuse and family violence in New Zealand.

Speaking from Sydney last week, Sir Owen described the knighthood as a great honour.

"The ONZM they awarded me in 2008 was a great thrill. I thought that was it, the apex of my life, and then this came out of the blue and I thought ‘wow'."

He said he would be happy to use the title "Sir".

"It might get me a couple of steps up the line at the airport," he joked.

"[But] I don't want to be flippant about it. It's wonderful. It's actually going to help with what I'm doing in philanthropy and in business and investment, because it is a recognition that you've achieved something and it is a mark of approval from our head of state, the Queen."

Alan Bollard, whose two five-year terms as Reserve Bank governor included the severe events of the global financial crisis, was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the state.

As he remarked in his 2010 book Crisis, Bollard "had a unique vantage point from which to observe a crisis that should never have happened, to watch the desperate struggle to contain it offshore and, in some way, to assist the efforts to limit its impact on New Zealand".

He stepped down as governor in September and on New Year's Day begins a three-year stint as head of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation secretariat in Singapore.

Also made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit is Stewart "Bill" Buckley for services to technology, business and motorsport.

Buckley founded engineering company Buckley Systems in 1986 and has grown the business into a world-leading manufacturer of precision electromagnets used in making silicon chips and flat screen TVs.

"It takes everybody by surprise that we can do it in New Zealand and that's what I want to try and foster," he said. "I reckon manufacturing is one of the most beneficial things to a country you can have in getting jobs. It's not just the 300 I've got at work, it's probably three times that outside that wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for our industry."

Although the CNZM honours his achievements in business, Buckley was most pleased with its acknowledgement of speedway racing.

"I want to get the sport recognised really, as much as anything," he said.

"It says it's for motorsport, so I was quite keen to accept it on that.

"We've got a battle on our hands to keep it at [Auckland's Western Springs], so I want to get as much leverage as I can to keep it there."

Fairfax Media