City still has soul, philanthropist says

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2012
Owen Glenn
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

LIVELY DISCUSSION: The Press deputy editor Ric Stevens, left, interviews Sir Owen Glenn at a Literary Liaison event in Christchurch last night.

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Businessman and philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn came to Christchurch to promote his new book last night but his charitable work became the focus.

Glenn was the guest at the The Press Literary Liaison event, to discuss his autobiography, Making a Difference.

Interviewed by Press deputy editor Ric Stevens, Glenn told the crowd at Show Gate house in Riccarton Racecourse about the book and his new charitable venture, which aims to reduce domestic abuse and violence in New Zealand.

"I just can't frankly abide having kids and women victimised [when they] can't defend themselves," he said. "We have got problems, deep-seated and complicated problems, from genetics to addiction to poverty, and it's getting worse, not better.

"New Zealand is the third-worst in the world for domestic violence and abuse per capita."

He said he did not help people so he could get something back.

"I only ask for a smile.

"I have always helped other people, even before I came into my wealth."

He saw Christchurch's CBD for the first time since the February 2011 quake and said it looked like London's East End after World War II.

However, he felt the city had not lost its soul.

"Everybody is supporting each other and rebuilding the city," Glenn said.

"I wouldn't write off Christchurch."

Making a Difference has sold out of its first run and an additional 20,000 copies will be printed.

Making a Difference by Owen Glenn, Random House 2012, RRP $39.99.

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- The Press

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