Anendra Singh: Tycoon puts Bay on golf map

By Anendra Singh

They say some of the most important deals in the world are carried out on golf courses.

While not exactly teeing off from the mound of giddy corporate acquisitions, Terry Dineen, of Hawke's Bay, was delighted to execute a coup for the province.

Dineen was successful in enticing Wall St tycoon Julian Robertson to accept the invitation of the Hawke's Bay Eagles Golfing Society to become an honorary member for using his Cape Kidnappers Golf Course and Resort to promote the province.

"I rang Cape Kidnappers four years ago to get sponsorship for the Halberg Trust.

"They came up with four rounds of golf at the Cape course," Dineen said, adding the society used the offer as the premium prize from raffles at a society tournament each September to raise money for children with disabilities.

"It is played at Napier Golf Club and all the money raised comes back to Hawke's Bay," said the 74-year-old Puketitiri farmer, who is a member of the society and a former committee member for 12 years.

American philanthropist Robertson, who owns The Farm Resort in Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs Golf Resort near Mataura Bay as well as another lodge in Queenstown, was instrumental in bringing two US$2.6 million made-for-TV golf challenges involving PGA professionals Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Adam Scott, Brandt Snedeker and Camillo Villegas in 2008 and 2009.

In 2008, Dineen helped set up the tee-off area for the professional players with wife Dorothy, as Eagles Society members volunteered their services to help organise the challenges.

It wasn't until the next year of the challenge, as a marshal following the players, that Dineen met Robertson on the Cape Kidnappers course.

Robertson wanted to know more about the society, so the Dineens met him at the lodge to outline its function and constitution.

Last year Robertson, who National Business Review listed as the fourth richest man in the country, worth $3 billion, last month, accepted an honorary membership and recently Dineen and society club captain Greg Bennetts returned to the course to present the non-profit organisation's tie, pin and badge.

"People now know where Hawke's Bay is.

"He's done a lot for golf, not just in Hawke's Bay but in New Zealand.

"By building the magnificent Cape Kidnappers he has put Hawke's Bay on the map as a premium golfing destination worldwide," Dineen said.

In July last year, Prime Minister John Key, during a black-tie dinner at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington, presented Robertson the insignia for the honorary Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit he was awarded in the 2010 New Year Honours for his contribution to philanthropy and business.

It was also revealed at that dinner that Robertson had contributed $5 million towards the Christchurch earthquake relief fund, about 5 per cent of the $100 million donated around the world.

In 2004, Robertson and wife Josie gave $1.5 million towards the Turner Centre in Kerikeri, a multi-purpose performing arts centre said to have the best auditorium north of Auckland.

Josie Robertson was the Turner Centre's patron until her death in 2010 of breast cancer.

The Robertsons also gave the Auckland Art Gallery 15 paintings - including works by Gauguin, Dali and Picasso - worth $115 million.

Robertson spends three months a year at his New Zealand lodges and in an interview last year called New Zealand "the most beautiful place on Earth".

He is also instrumental in ensuring that the Cape Sanctuary, in conjunction with other Bay land owners, is teeming with native wildlife such as gannets and tuatara.

The New Zealand Eagle Society's roots go back to the early 1950s in Auckland to help promote junior golf members.

Dineen said the society had sponsored many talented players, including Hawke's Bay professional Doug Holloway in his amateur career.

"You could say we promote the etiquette of golf."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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