History of the Thomas George Macarthy Trust
Thomas George Macarthy of Wellington, Brewer, died in Wellington on 19 August 1912.
The Trust created by Mr Macarthy's will, as varied by two Acts of Parliament, provides for so much of the income as the Board of Governors sees fit to be distributed among registered charitable or educational organisations operating in the old Wellington provincial district.
In the last 100 years, the estate of Wellington businessman Thomas George Macarthy has pumped almost $60 million into the community of the old Wellington province. Few people have made such a large and sustained contribution.
About Thomas George Macarthy
Mr Macarthy was born in London in 1833. Attracted by the gold discoveries in Victoria he went to Australia in the 1850s. He crossed the Tasman to the Otago diggings in 1865, and from there followed the rush to the West Coast where, after some success on the various goldfields, most notably at Reefton, he established a small brewery at Charleston.
Seeking to expand his business talents Mr Macarthy came to Wellington in 1877 and bought a brewery in Custom House Quay and another in Tory Street, the Tory Street property is still owned by the Trust.
As well as being a successful business man Mr Macarthy actively participated in public affairs and is recorded to have been a Director of the Bank of New Zealand and President of the Wellington Racing Club. He also held many other offices.
For a man who has been so important to New Zealand, we know very little of him. The archives show that he was born in 1833 in London, and died in 1912 in Wellington. It is documented that he was a reserved and kind man.
He followed the gold rushes across Australia and New Zealand before going into business as a brewer. Rumour has it that he hit the jackpot with various investments around Reefton before moving to Wellington where he bought breweries, hotels, and property.
Later, he held numerous governance positions on organisation including the Bank of New Zealand and the Wellington Racing Club. He married very late in life to a young woman, and they had no children. When he died, the size of his estate was the talk of the town, and it was revealed that he had often made large charitable donations without any public fanfare.
He was obviously hard-working and very talented in business. It’s likely that business was the driving force throughout his life.
Like many of that period, he probably lived a relatively simple life, and was aware of others in greater need. Clearly, he cared deeply for his adopted home and its people.
Board of Governors
The Board of Governors comprises those who from time to time hold the following positions:
- Governor General of New Zealand
- Prime Minister of New Zealand
- Mayor of Wellington
- Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington.
Total income distributed since inception of the Trust is over $58.61 million.
2011 donations totalled $2.3 million.
- $133,000 was distributed to dozens of early childcare organisations
- $156,400 was donated to 35 groups supporting young people
- $671,200 was donated to hundreds of educational organisations
- $395,000 was allocated to 10 hospitals and ambulance services
- $64,366 was allocated to 20 groups supporting older people
- $186,198 was donated to 45 groups supporting people with disabilities
- $648,886 was provided to 71 social service agencies
- $46,130 was provided to 8 agencies supporting those with mental illness
- $93,862 was distributed to 21 groups supporting various cultural interests