The eldest daughter of the late businessman Hugh Green wants no appointments made to two trusts while she waits for a High Court decision in a battle over his $400 million fortune.

Green died, aged 80, in 2012 and had been awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to philanthropy six months before he passed away.

The empire he built over decades included the Hugh Green Group, a family-owned property company, and the Hugh Green Foundation, a charitable organisation that supports causes such as medical research or individuals living with disabilities or serious illness.

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The philanthropist's eldest daughter, Maryanne, had been chief executive of the family business, the Hugh Green Group, and headed the Hugh Green Foundation, which was set up to give away about $3 million a year.

But Companies Office records show she left the business and the trust in the 12 months before her father died.

A copy of Hugh Green's will - signed months before he died - shows he left his fortune to the Hugh Green Trust, trustees of which include two of his five children, John and Frances Green, and two lawyers.

The year after her father's death, Maryanne Green brought action in the High Court at Auckland challenging the validity of the new will.

The late Hugh Green's eldest daughter, Maryanne. Photo / Doug Sherring
The late Hugh Green's eldest daughter, Maryanne. Photo / Doug Sherring

At the heart of the argument is Maryanne's claim that she and her brother should work independently and run different arms of the empire - her the business side and John the charitable arm. She says the trio were appointed when her father was ill and not making rational decisions.

John, however, says they are honouring their dead father's wishes by working together as a family.

The parties squared off last August but a decision in the case, heard by Chief High Court judge Helen Winkelmann, has not been released.

It is expected before June because Justice Winkelmann is moving to the Court of Appeal.


Ahead of that decision, Maryanne's lawyer Vanessa Bruton made an application this morning that there should be no trustees appointed or no significant distributions from the Hugh Green Trust and the Hugh Green property trust.

This follows one trustee resigning, the court heard.

However, the application was adjourned after a short hearing in which Justice Winkelmann suggested the parties should sort the matter out between themselves.

The judge gave Bruton leave to come back to the court after the Easter Break and seek an urgent hearing if the situation could not be resolved.