Businessman Hugh Green dies
Sun, 15 Jul 2012 3:31p.m.
Irish-born businessman Hugh Green has died at his New Zealand home, aged 80.
Mr Green amassed a fortune from humble beginnings in New Zealand and gave money to many causes, while maintaining strong links with Ireland.
He had a relatively low public profile because Hugh Green Group was privately owned but he was enormously respected. The National Business Review rich list estimates his wealth at $350 million.
Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae presented Mr Green with the Queen's Service Medal for services to philanthropy in his modest Mt Albert living room in April because Mr Green was too ill with cancer to attend a public ceremony.
"I made a lot of money and I can't spend it. So I decided to give it away and do something for somebody else," Mr Green said at the time.
Mr Green established the Hugh Green Foundation in 1998, which replaced a charitable trust he had operated since 1968.
He was the fifth of eight children born in County Donegal, according to the foundation's website. He left school at 12 because of hard times and spent two years cutting sugarcane in Queensland before deciding to return to his homeland via New Zealand and Canada.
He only got as far as Wellington.
In 1951 he and friend Barney McCahill tendered for contracts digging trenches and laying cable for the Post and Telegraph Department.
From an Auckland base, Green & McCahill secured civil engineering contracts in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.
The firm got involved with property development during the 1980s and turned to investment in 1992.
Mr Green and Mr McCahill divided the company in 2003 and the resulting Hugh Green Group continued as an engineering construction and investment company.
His death was reported in the Irish Times and by New Zealand media.
Mr Green was married to Moria, his wife of 56 years and had five adult children, as well as many grandchildren.
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8/08/2012 10:56:17 p.m.
Nev Broadbent wrote:
Sad news indeed.
An inspiring man and an inspiring partnership.
I had the privilage as a young man to work for G&M for a short time, as did my father with his earthmoving business, subcontracting to them on many occasions.
Dad Always spoke of Hughy Green with the utmost respect and admiration.
My condolences to his family
16/07/2012 9:58:09 a.m.
Genny Hanning wrote:
What an amazing life. Prayers and sympathy. His spirit will live on in the good works he has done and the difference he has made to the lives of many others.
15/07/2012 6:47:47 p.m.
Jim Sharp wrote:
Condolences to the family.
I always admired the man for starting out with nothing but a dream, fixing their truck overnight in the forecourt of Fred Murphy's Gas Station on Onewa Rd in Northcote so as it wouldn't brake down the next day while picking up workers.
I'm grateful for him giving me my break back in the late 70's to grow my drainage contracting business. I was always paid on time and got the retention money held back on time.
I still smile about the time he gave me a $1000 per tree contract to chop down pine trees at Pinehill on Auckland's Nth Shore knowing we didn't have a glue how to do it, with " I don't care how you do it "just don't kill yourself or anyone else".
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