Chips are down, but firm still has Eden Park box

By Anne Gibson

Blue Chip's corporate box at Eden Park is still leased to the company after being decorated as a monument to the late All Black Ron Bryers.

The box remains under the company's control as disillusioned Blue Chip clients struggle and a plea is made for Government intervention.

Karen French, commercial manager at Eden Park, said yesterday the box at the top of the ASB Stand was rented to Blue Chip.

Mark Bryers, who founded Blue Chip earlier this decade with partner Bob Bangerter, said two years ago he had decorated the box as a shrine to his late father Ron Bryers, a rugby player, war veteran and Bay of Plenty coach who died in 1987.

Ron Bryers played a test for the All Blacks in 1949 against Australia.

Memorabilia included photographs of his team, rugby jerseys, a poster from the 1958 New Zealand Maori trip to Australia and silver Barbarian mugs engraved with family names.

A select group of Blue Chip clients and staff were invited to watch matches from the box.

More than 4000 investors bought about 2000 properties via Blue Chip but now 20 companies are in liquidation, one is in administration and creditors are claiming $72.4 million.

Creditors will meet next Friday and liquidator Jeff Meltzer plans a national live video linkup for those outside Auckland. Some investors face losing their family homes and apartments, although Meltzer said this month he hoped to be able to find some money. The corporate box was just part of the Blue Chip executives' lifestyle which also included the launch MV Nirvana, houses in Remuera and a fleet of European cars.

Two years ago, Bryers told of his father's achievements and why he organised the Eden Park display.

"Dad was an extremely well-known personality in New Zealand rugby circles for 30 years and he was a big man," Bryers told the Bay of Plenty Times. "He was the first All Black over 18 stone."

Suzanne Edmonds of Exposing Unethical Financial Activities said this month some Blue Chip clients applied to food banks to survive.

Yesterday, she called for Prime Minister Helen Clark to freeze recovery action being taken against investors and said one man would still owe $100,000 even after he lost the family house.

* Eden Park corporate entertaining box, Auckland.
* Naming rights for Tauranga's Baypark Stadium.
* Sponsored Bay of Plenty Steamers team.
* Mark Bryers' late father Ron played a test for the All Blacks.

- NZ Herald

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