ABOUT THE FOUNDER
- Hugh Green 1931 / 2012 -
Raphoe, County Donegal, Ireland, the fifth child of a family of eight
Established contracting firm Green & McCahill, the Hugh Green Group and the Hugh Green Foundation
Married to Moira for 57 years and raised 5 children
Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the National University of Ireland, 2006;
Manukau Business Hall of Fame, for services to business & society, 2007;
Papal Knighthood, for outstanding contribution to New Zealand society and generous support of many charitable causes over many years, 2011;
Donegal Person of the Year, 2011;
Queens Service Medal, for services to philanthropy, 2012;
New Zealand Business Hall of Fame, for services to business and society, 2013 (posthumous).
“My real happiness is family, the farms, the cows and people. You come in with nothing and you go out with nothing, and you just need the bare essentials while you’re here. And that’s how I’ve lived my life.”
Leaving school at age 12, Hugh became a cattle drover and dealer, which began his lifelong passion for cattle trading. At age 17, like many Irish people, he left his home town and country to make a better life for himself. After a short time in England and Scotland he moved to Australia. He worked as a sugar cane cutter in Queensland, on a hydro scheme construction in Tasmania and as a water main trenching contractor in Melbourne.
Along the way Hugh had met Barney McCahill, another young Donegal man. When Australia found itself in an economic slump Hugh and Barney decided to return to Ireland via New Zealand and Canada. They arrived in Wellington in 1952 and initially found work digging trenches for the Wellington Gas Company. Later they bid for and won a contract with Post and Telegraph Department and recruited a gang of Irishmen to dig trenches and lay the cable. In 1953 they were awarded similar work in Auckland and formed Green & McCahill Contractors Limited which grew to become one of the best known civil construction companies in the country. The company was responsible for large infrastructure projects all over New Zealand and at its peak employed 500 workers. With the profits from the contracting business the Green and McCahill Group of Companies diversified into property investment, predominantly large farms in the wider Auckland and Waikato region from which Hugh managed sizable farming and cattle trading operations. The Group later commenced residential and commercial development and purchased substantial share investments in public companies.
The Green and McCahill interests separated in 2002 and the fifty companies owned by Hugh became known as the Hugh Green Group.
Hugh’s philanthropic activities began in the 1960’s and were driven by his experiences of poverty during his childhood which lead him to establish the Hugh Green Charitable Trust in 1998, now known as the Hugh Green Foundation. The Foundation continues to provide generous support to groups working within the community in the areas of Medical Research and Innovation, Poverty Relief and Education, Community Development, Quality of Life and Emergency Response.
Throughout his life in New Zealand Hugh Green continued to indulge in his first love – cattle dealing. The touchstones of his life were his strong Catholic faith, his love for his family and his devotion to both Ireland and New Zealand. He died age 80 at his home in Mt Albert, Auckland where he had lived for more than 50 years. His business and philanthropic work continues today through the Hugh Green Group and The Hugh Green Foundation.
Published in 2011, Hugh’s memoir of his life “The Story of an Irish Immigrant Who Never Left Home”, is available from Hugh Green Group.
Please e-mail [email protected] to order your copy.
Born in Raphoe County Donegal, Ireland, the fifth of eight children
Left School at the age of 12 and worked as a cattle drover and dealer
Moved to Scotland and later England working on hydro schemes and railway
Sailed to Australia, formed Donegal Construction Company with Barney McCahill laying water mains for Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works
Moved to New Zealand, formed a partnership with Barney and recruited a gang of Irishmen to lay cables for the Post & Telegraph Department in Wellington
Moved to Auckland and formed Green & McCahill (Contractors) Limited
Married Moira Buckley, the daughter of an Irish immigrant, and later raised five children
Established the Hugh Green Trust that donated extensively to many charitable causes
Established the Hugh Green Foundation as the vehicle to continue his philanthropic activities
Green and McCahill separated their interests and the business comprised of 50 plus companies was renamed the Hugh Green Group
Conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the National University of Ireland, Galway
Inducted in to the Manukau Business Hall of Fame for services to business and society
Awarded a Papal Knighthood in recognition of his outstanding contribution to New Zealand society and generous support of many charitable causes over many years
Hugh Green passed away
Posthumous induction in to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame for services to business and society
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