Sir George Elliot

Sir George ElliotSir George Elliot was a benefactor, philanthropist and successful businessman who died in 1956 after a long life of involvement in the work of the communitity.

Born in 1865, he migrated to New Zealand and after running a newspaper in Tauranga became involved in flax-milling before moving to Auckland to enter business with his brother.

He was president of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce in 1911-12. The idea of the Auckland Exhibition was mooted in 1912 and after a dispute over whether it should be held at Victoria Park or in the Domain, Sir George took up the position of president of the exhibition. Its subsequent success is in large measure a tribute to his skills and business acumen. The Wintergardens in the Auckland Domain are a permanent tribute to the exhibition and his leadership.

During World War One Sir George was a member of the National Efficiency Board, a member of the Military service Board and president of the Patriotic Society.

After the war he chaired various commissions into, among other things, the influenza epidemic in Samoa and trade relations between New Zealand and various Pacific islands. He was knighted in 1923.

His business career was marked by involvement with the Bank of New Zealand (as director), the South British Insurance Company, Wilsons (NZ) Portland Cement Ltd, Milne and Choyce Ltd, the New Zealand Insurance Company and Phillips and Impey Ltd. His involvement with the BNZ spanned nearly twenty years and included a long period as chairman.

The Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust was established in 1956 to support community work and education. Sir George had long been interested in education, and especially education "with a Christian character". This had been demonstrated earlier by his very significant donation for the establishment of St Kentigern's College and his generous support for St Cuthberts College. It was characteristic of the man that these donations were made anonymously and only became public later.

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