A Tribute to Sir Roy McKenzie (NZ)

A Tribute to Sir Roy McKenzie

“Do not follow where the path may lead – Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of one of New Zealand’s most remarkable philanthropic leaders and patron of Philanthropy New Zealand, Sir Roy McKenzie.

Sir Roy’s work spent his life giving to the New Zealand community. Not just in terms of grant making activity but also in the personal support and guidance that he provided countless Community and Voluntary Sector organisations.

At the Shaping the Future Symposium, held in early May this year to honour Sir Roy’s life work, participants paid tribute to how Sir Roy’s passion for life and deep commitment to New Zealand showed in everything he did, from his work, his recreational interests and his huge support of the Community and Voluntary sector.

Sir Roy served on the J.R.McKenzie Trust Board for over forty years and set up two other grant making bodies: the McKenzie Education Foundation and the Roy McKenzie Foundation, both of which were renowned for their innovative approaches to supporting community activities.

His support, both in terms of grants and time, were often directed at issues that were before their time or even unpopular. He could see beyond the immediate towards what would be good for the future of our communities.

He was prominent in developing and supporting organisations, such as Outward Bound Trust, Women’s Refuge, NZ Council for Educational Research, Birthright, Te Omanga Hospice, and others.

He was also credited with working towards professionalising philanthropy in New Zealand, with the Roy McKenzie Foundation becoming the first grantmaking trust to employ professional staff and to send both staff and trustees on sabbaticals.

Sir Roy was knighted in 1989 for his services to education and the community. But he never rested on his laurels. He preferred to be known as a community volunteer rather than as a philanthropist, even though he was so passionate about philanthropy and convinced of its value to the community.

Our sincere condolences go out to Sir Roy’s wife Shirley and the rest of the McKenzie family.

Sir Roy will be deeply missed by us all.

This statement is from Philanthropy New Zealand, our NZ counterpart.

Sep. 04, 2007

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