Charitable trust celebrates its centennial

Charitable trust celebrates its centennial

It’s likely that many people in the greater Wellington region would have benefited from the estate of an early Wellington businessman, although few would recognise his name.

The Thomas George Macarthy Trust celebrates its centennial this year. Since 1912, almost $60 million has been distributed to thousands of education providers, charitable organisations and community groups.


“Many people have certainly been the recipients of his generosity and vision,” says the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington, John Dew, one of the Trust’s four Board members.

“I have always thought that TG Macarthy must have been someone with great vision and a great, big generous heart to leave that money in trust for his community.”

The sizeable fund of the Thomas George Macarthy Trust provides funding to many organisations that would otherwise struggle for funding, and would be unable to provide many services and activities for their communities. They are always very grateful to receive funding from the TG Macarthy Trust.


Mark Cassidy, Public Trust’s National Business Manager, agrees.

“The Trust’s funding is vital to some of these community groups.”

Public Trust is responsible for administering the Thomas George Macarthy Trust. Its prudent approach ensures that the Trust is safeguarded and grown to benefit past, current and future generations of the community.

Funding is available to organisations providing services that support children and young people, older people, the disadvantaged and marginalised, and those providing medical or emergency services.

Under the Trust’s original Deed, they must also be from within the old Wellington provincial district, which covers the North Island south of Turangi, but excluding Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay.


All registered schools, kindergartens, play centres, kohanga reo, Pacific Island language groups and Plunket groups receive donations every year or every other year.

Established in 1912

The Trust was established in 1912, following Thomas George Macarthy’s death. Such was the size of the estate that it was underpinned by two acts of Parliament. In its inaugural year, it donated about £2500 to the community. Today, it donates up to $2.5 million each year.

The four Board members - the Archbishop of Wellington, the Governor General, the Prime Minister’s representative, and the Mayor of Wellington - have always been keenly aware of the community’s needs. During the economic depression of the 1930s, they focused the Trust’s donations on the services and activities that would most reduce poverty and distress.


Similarly, the current Board is aware of the effect that recent economic pressures have had on communities and community organisations. Its ability to support struggling organisations is both a great privilege and a great responsibility.

“When we gather,” says the Archbishop, “it’s a real privilege to be here and to be aware of what people are applying for, and why they are applying for it - they are all trying to help their community. The Trust works well because the people holding the positions have a deep seated understanding of what’s important in the community.”

Former Board member Kerry Prendergast enjoyed being able to distribute donations far and wide and to know that they made a positive difference in the community.

“It is one of the trusts that tends to sit below the radar. I don’t think the Wellington region is aware of just how much money the Macarthy Trust contributes to the community.”

It takes an entire day for the Board to review the hundreds of funding applications received each year, and for it to confirm the funding levels.

Careful financial management from Public Trust has seen the Trust’s fund grow steadily while maintaining a high level of annual funding.

Mark says Public Trust takes a prudent approach to ensuring that the Trust’s assets are protected for the future benefit of the Wellington region.

“The Trust is in extremely good shape for the next 100 years.”