Thomas George Macarthy of Wellington, was a Brewer who 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.
History of Thomas George Macarthy
Thomas George Macarthy was born in London in 1833, the son of Thomas Bernard Macarthy, a florist and his wife, Ann Elizabeth Grout. Nothing is known about his early life.
Macarthy was attracted to the Victorian goldfields in the early 1850s, later settling at Geelong. 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 buisness Mr Macarthy moved to Wellington 1877 and bought a brewery in Old Custom House Street (Bond Street) and in 1883 a larger brewery in Tory Street. The Tory Street property is still owned by the Trust. From this start he expanded his business interests into many fields, becoming manager-owner of the barque Weatherfield, with which he traded between London and New Zealand ports. He also acquired hotels which were closely linked to his principal business, and other urban property. The financial liquidity of brewing made it a sound investment during the depression of the 1880s and early 1890s.
Macarthy became a respected member of the Wellington business community. He was prominent in the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company, the Wellington industrial exhibition of 1896 to 1897, and the company formed in the 1890s to build an opera house. He was elected to the board of directors of the Bank of New Zealand in 1894 when the location of its head office was shifted from London to Wellington, and served until 1898. He was also a member of the Wellington Racing Club.
On 28 April 1897, when aged 63, Macarthy married 23-year-old Mary Ellen Fitzsimons at St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Wellington. There were no children of the marriage. His best man was John Plimmer, the self-styled “Father of Wellington”. He remained active in management until his final illness, and died at his Boulcott Street home in Wellington on 19 August 1912. His will provided for his wife Mary along with provision for his wife’s husband or children should she remarry. Mary Macarthy married Walter Edward Reid, a merchant, on 21 January 1914, and the marriage was childless. She died on 1 July 1934.
Macarthy was known for his low-key generosity, despite the anonymity around any donations, the size of his estate took the city by surprise £500,000 (including the brewery) with a board of governors to include the Governor-General, Prime Minister, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington and the Capital’s Mayor. Macarthy was particularly interested in education (one of his first bequests was the 1919 development endowment of the T G Macarthy chair of economics at Victoria University) and providing for the needy which, in those days, often meant women.
A state-administered brewery posted a few problems. “The People’s Ale – the more you drink, the more there is for charity” was a bit much for former Prime Minister and Chief Justice, Robert Stout – a committed abolitionist determined to shut down the Public Trust with its links to demon drink. The Public Trust fought off the challenge and the brewery continued in business until bought out by New Zealand Breweries in 1937.
After her marriage, Mrs Macarthy devoted much of her time to charitable work. Thomas George Macarthy gave liberally to charities during his lifetime, but always insisted that the gifts be anonymous. A rare exception to this rule was a donation in 1910 of £500 to the Children’s Hospital.
Thomas George Macarthy died at his Boulcott Street home in Wellington on 19 August 1912.
The purpose of the Trust
Under the terms of the will the Trustees are to hold the Trust Fund on trust to:
Pay and apply the annual rents and income of the Trust fund for such charitable and educational purposes or institutions in the Provincial District of Wellington in such manner and in such shares as the Board of Governors shall from time to time by resolution direct or appoint. The Thomas George Macarthy Trust donates to registered charitable or educational organisations operating in the old Wellington provincial district, defined as the area of the North Island which is south of Turangi and excluding Taranaki and Hawke's Bay.
To help build strong, inclusive and supportive communities by funding community based, not for profit organisations within the Trust’s region, that:
Improve the quality of life for the disadvantaged and marginalised.
Help children and young people develop and realise their potential.
Look after and provide dignity for older people.
Provide essential medical and emergency services.
1. Regular Granting (do not need to submit applications)
Registered schools - all primary, intermediate and secondary schools registered with the Ministry of Education within the Trust’s region receive a biennial library grant for the purchase of books, computer software and hardware for use in the school libraries. The Correspondence School receives a biennial library grant on the same basis as schools. Other grants are not made to primary, intermediate or secondary schools unless the school is particularly disadvantaged because of economic circumstances within their community or the grant relates to a special project. Grants are not made to tertiary institutions unless the application relates to a special project which benefits the wider community.
Kindergartens - all kindergartens registered with the Kindergarten Association within the Trust’s region receive a biennial grant each for books, computers and new or replacement equipment.
Play centres - all play centres registered with the Playcentre Association within the Trust’s region receive a biennial grant each for books, computers and new or replacement equipment.
Kohanga Reo - all licensed Kohanga Reo registered with the Kohanga Reo National Trust within the Trust’s region receive a biennial grant of $500 each for books, computers and new or replacement equipment.
Pacific Island language groups - all Pacific Island Language Groups licensed with the Ministry of Education within the Trust’s region receive a biennial grant of $500 each for books, computers and new or replacement equipment.
Toy Libraries - all Toy Libraries registered with TLFNZ within the Trust’s region receive an annual grant each for support towards operation cost or toy purchase.
Plunket organisations - in the trust area receive donations on a biennial or annual basis.
Grants to childcare centres, OSCAR’s, kindergartens, play centres, Kohanga Reo, Pacific Island Language Groups, Toy Libraries or Plunket, other than as previously stated will not usually be considered unless they relate to a special project or the organisation is particularly disadvantaged because of economic circumstances within their community.
To acknowledge support from the Trust, you are welcome to use the TG Macarthy logo on promotional materials. To view the TG Macarthy logo, please click here.
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.
Public Trust is responsible for administering the Thomas George Macarthy Trust through an approach that ensures that the Trust is safeguarded and grown to benefit current and future generations of the community. Funding applications are received by the Trustee and considered by the Board at the annual meeting.
View the distributions to each category and organisation.
Early Childhood Education, Care Centre & Oscar
Toy Library Federation Of New Zealand
Pacific Island Group
Grants approved 2020
Access Radio Wairarapa Charitable Trust
Agape Budgeting Service Ltd
Age Concern Kapiti Coast Inc
Age Concern Whanganui Inc
Alzheimers Society Manawatu Inc
Alzheimers Whanganui Incorporated
Anglican Social Services(Hutt Valley) Trust Board T/A The Family Centre
Aphasia New Zealand (AphasiaNZ) Charitable Trust
Aratoi Regional Trust
Arohanui Hospice Service Trust
Arts Access Aotearoa Whakahauhau katoa O Hanga Charitable Trust
Autism New Zealand Incorporated - Wellington, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Whanaganui Branches