Sir Stephen Tindall

Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business, the community, and the environment.

From his office on Auckland's Viaduct, Sir Stephen Tindall looks down on Wynyard Quarter, where the tank farm has been partially dismantled to make way for America's Cup bases.

As chairman of Team New Zealand's 2021 defence, he's monitoring progress closely.


But driving the Cup effort forms just part of the Warehouse founder's busy typical week.

Sir Stephen - who was made a knight companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009 and elevated to a knight grand companion today - also oversees the Tindall Foundation and K1W1, his family's $250 million seed and venture capital fund.

Over the past 22 years, his foundation has donated more than $130m to of community and environmental initiatives including Christchurch quake relief, adult literacy, the arts, community gardens, food banks and the Te Whanau Putahi programme to boost the employability and self-confidence of long-term unemployed.

And K1W1 has poured hundreds of millions into 200 local startups. Every year since 1994, Sir Stephen allocated all of his Warehouse dividends to the fund.

Nudged to name some of K1W1's greatest hits, Sir Stephen punts for Rocket Lab - which he says is one of his fund's "most substantial holdings" (though he won't reveal exact numbers).

Another K1W1 headliner is clean energy company LanzaTech, which takes carbon monoxide from steel mills and oil refineries and turns it into biofuel.

"We were in Icebreaker for quite a few years, too," Tindall says.

"That was sold last year [to US company North Face, for $288m]. We re-invested the money in other companies."


Today, K1W1 has more than 120 investments. Tindall is backing young entrepreneurs with early-stage companies from Spider Tracks, which has an app for real-time aircraft tracking to Living Cell Technologies, which is fighting Parkinson's Disease, to Halter, which is developing a wireless smart-collar for managing herds of cows using audio signals and chicken-free chicken maker Sunfed foods (recently seen having a chip against Air NZ).

Tindall's welter of environmental initiatives include his Trees that Count project, which has planted more than 22 million trees, including 11 million in the past year alone in a bid to offset carbon emissions and boost the number of native trees.

Beyond its financial support for various causes, the Tindall Foundation has also been active in problem-solving. It has coordinated efforts between different non-profit agencies to address the housing affordability crisis, and its founder is currently exploring options to halve the cost of constructing a home.

To help make time for the America's Cup on top of his Tindall Foundation and K1W1 commitments, Sir Stephen has taken a two-year leave of absence from The Warehouse Group, with his son Robbie serving as his alternate on the board.

Tindall chaired the Growth and Innovation Advisory Board from 2007 to 2009, the Climate Change Leadership Forum from 2007 to 2009, and the Broadband Investment Forum from 2008 to 2009.

He also headed the Job Summit Working Group in 2009, with a particular focus on Auckland, including an involvement co-funding the Mayor's taskforce on jobs.

He was a council member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and remained involved as a co-founder and Chair of Kiwi Expat Association (KEA) until 2012

Earlier honours saw Tindall made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 and a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007 - redesignated as Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.