With billions of baby-boomer dollars set to transfer to the next generation in the coming years, Jane Phare talks to philanthropists about what motivates them to give and what their offspring might do with all that money. For the full list of our biggest donors, scroll to the bottom of the story.
Brendan and Jo Lindsay have already told their four children they won't be inheriting millions of dollars. Instead, they plan to give most of their money away.
As Jo Lindsay says, "To give someone $100 million, that's just crazy stuff."
The Lindsays shot on to the NBR's Rich List after the $660 million sale of their plastic storage container company Sistema in 2016. After a family trip to Europe, they returned to a stack of letters from people asking for money for often "ridiculous" reasons.
One man asked the Lindsays to buy him a house and fund his two daughters through university after he sold the family home and invested unsuccessfully in the sharemarket.
Requests from individuals and charities – there are more than 27,000 of them registered in New Zealand – kept flooding in to the point where the couple realised they needed help.
They sought advice from Sam Morgan, who, after the sale of Trade Me, set up his philanthropic charity Jasmine Social Investments. It wasn't until last year they founded the Lindsay Foundation, 12 months after starting the process.
Giving money away and doing it well, it seems, is not that easy. Linking philanthropists up with each other and sharing knowledge is part of what Robert Rosen does as director of Philanthropic Partnerships for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.
The Gates Foundation is in a philanthropic league of its own. Thanks to the combination of the Gates' and billionaire Warren Buffett's fortunes, the foundation has assets of US$50.8 billion and gives away US$5.7b every year. And the foundation has 1500 staff to help do it.
Anyone can write out a large cheque but it takes time, expertise and much thought to give money away effectively, Rosen says.
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"There's a lot of training in business school but not a ton in terms of philanthropy."
Aware of the complexities, Jo and Brendan Lindsay hired Andrew Higgott as the foundation's chief executive and gave him a mandate to give away up to $10m a year wisely - an amount that will continue to increase.
They're concentrating on four specific areas: children, health – both mental and physical - animal welfare, and helping people with mental or physical disabilities.
Transparency was another reason they set up the foundation so that the wider family can see where the family fortune is going and have input.
The Lindsay Foundation won't be an inter-generational trust. Instead, much of the Sistema fortune will be given away in the couple's lifetime so they get to enjoy the outcome and, if all goes to plan, help change lives.
Likewise, the focus of the Gates Foundation is to help solve today's global problems. It's programmed to wind up 20 years after Bill and Melinda's deaths, with the billions of dollars all spent.
Kiwis are generous people
By all accounts, Kiwis are a generous lot. New Zealand is ranked the third most generous country in the world in the latest CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) World Giving Index, just half a per cent behind Australia with Indonesia at the top. The ranking is based on three components – donating to a charity, volunteering time and helping a stranger.
Last year New Zealanders gave away $3.5b in donations and spent thousands of hours doing volunteer work. Sue McCabe, chief executive of Philanthropy New Zealand, thinks Kiwis are generous by nature and will respond to need.
"I do believe in the goodness of people, that people will give if you can find the right thing for them."
But in such a small country, visibly wealthy Kiwis are shoulder tapped for money more than most.
Businesswoman and mother-of-four Gretchen Hawkesby knows all about charity fatigue. She's helping to raise $3.5m by March next year to begin building a 10-bed extension to Starship's PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit).
It means she'll be making a direct approach to her regular list of contacts, including her parents, Graeme and Robyn Hart, who have supported Starship over the years.
"It's a bit of a nightmare. I feel sorry for everyone that knows me," she laughs.
Thanks to a wealthy expat living in Australia and $125,000 raised at this year's Starship Diamonds and Stars Tea Party there's already $1m in the kitty. But the PICU project, which involves filling in some of the hospital's atrium, will cost $15m to complete.
"It's a really big ask. There are so many other campaigns going on out there."
But it's a project that can't wait, Hawkesby says. Children are booked into PICU for operations, their parents prepare themselves mentally and take time off work, and then an emergency case comes in.
"The child gets bumped and that's not cool."
Starship has consumed Hawkesby's time for the past 10 years since she agreed to chair Friends of Starship. Now as vice-chairwoman of the hospital's board of trustees, she juggles hospital business with the demands of four teenagers aged between 13 and 17.
Added to that, she's fundraising for a major 150th-anniversary project at Auckland Grammar School where one of her sons is head boy.
Donors will more often than not give to a cause to which they have a personal connection. Hawkesby knows she has an advantage in that respect. In a roomful of people at a charity auction, most will know children who have been in Starship.
Being generous makes us feel good
Pleasure is another big driver behind philanthropy. Put simply, giving makes us feel good.
"It gives you a really nice feeling," Hawkesby says, "the endorphins it produces. You feel like you're helping."
For charity events in past years, she would help organise items to auction off, convinced that people needed to receive something in return for their donation.
But this year she proved herself wrong. Organisers of the charity tea party tried a different approach. Instead of a luxury weekend away, guests bid for incubators and warming gel blankets needed in PICU. An intensive care bed went for $26,000.
"No one took anything home. It went straight to the hospital. There are certain people who are very philanthropic, it's just in their bones."
Niki Harre, a professor in the school of psychology at the University of Auckland, agrees that generosity makes people feel good about themselves. Studies show that giving social support has as much health benefits as receiving social support, she says.
"Human beings have an intense desire to belong and to contribute. When you've got choice we always do things that make us feel good."
Who's not giving?
For all those who are digging deep into their pockets, there are those who don't or at least don't appear to be giving. According to this year's Rich List, New Zealand now has 15 billionaires and billionaire families, and plenty of multi-millionaires. Among them are names conspicuous by their absence in philanthropic circles.
In 1973, Americans looked on in disbelief when multi-billionaire oil baron J. Paul Getty refused to pay a ransom for his 16-year-old grandson John Paul Getty III who was kidnapped in Rome. It wasn't until weeks later when the teenager's right ear and a lock of his hair were sent to a newspaper that Getty relented.
While the billionaire's abhorrent meanness shocked a new generation when it was told in the 2017 Hollywood movie All the Money in the World, it appears people like Getty are the exception rather than the rule.
Rosen thinks there is a spirit of generosity that extends across humankind. Most want to leave the world a better place.
"I do think generosity is embedded in the human condition."
Those working in the philanthropic world say there's no evidence New Zealand harbours a large number of mean millionaires. Instead New Zealanders, by their very nature, don't like to splash it about. They'll give quietly without an accompanying press release, or donate without fuss through existing charitable trusts.
Mark Bentley, director of Alumni Relations and Development at the University of Auckland says in his experience it's common for people to give in a very private way.
"There will be people who you might think are tight with their money but are in fact incredibly generous."
There are some who don't mind being upfront about their donation. When businessman and philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn donated $7.5m towards the University of Auckland's new business school, the building was named the Owen G. Glenn Building. A large portrait of him hangs in the foyer.
Many of the mega-wealthy set up charitable trusts and foundations in their own name but plenty take a more low-key approach. When retired Northland couple Neal and Annette Plowman set up a $100m foundation for environment and education projects five years ago they named it The Next Foundation.
New Zealand's richest billionaire, Graeme Hart, is another who keeps a low profile. He declines requests for interviews and is rarely seen on the social circuit unless it's to attend one of the fundraisers his daughter has organised.
Last year, Robyn and Graeme Hart donated $10m to the University of Otago to build a new dental school in South Auckland and they were major donors to a new $30m education block at King's School. Now Hawkesby is fundraising for Auckland Grammar, he'll no doubt be shoulder tapped for that too.
Hawkesby says her extended family are constantly approached for donations from all directions but now target their philanthropy into supporting children's health and education.
"That's where we tend to give. Other families will just want to give to the arts, there are others that will have a sports focus."
The Lindsays also prefer to keep a low profile. They don't want plaques denoting their philanthropy, they don't want to be on social media and they're not seen about town.
"If Louis Vuitton asks us to the opening of a new store, we don't go. We prefer to have a very private life," Brendan Lindsay says.
The couple have tipped in more than $900,000 to help the Pet Refuge charity build a facility to care for pets while their owners escape family violence.
"It's not going to be called the Lindsay Foundation Pet Refuge, it's going to be called Pet Refuge."
For the Lindsays, the pleasure of watching the shelter being built will be enough. The project is close to Jo Lindsay's heart, having witnessed domestic violence in her extended family, and one that she'd like to see rolled out in other parts of the country.
Encouraging the wealthy to dig deep
Australian wealth analyst John McLeod says one way to call out reluctant would-be philanthropists is to start a list. McLeod co-founded JBWere Philanthropic Services and has been analysing philanthropy in Australia and New Zealand for the past 20 years.
Three years ago, the Australian Financial Review started publishing a list of Australia's top 50 philanthropists who gave away $3m or more a year. By last year the benchmark had increased to $3.6m and the dollar amounts had increased by a startling 20 per cent.
"What's been fascinating is the size, the scale, the dollars, the outwardness in terms of talking about it [philanthropy] has gone up dramatically just in that period," McLeod says.
"Once there's a list, people want to be on it."
Starting the "conversation" about philanthropy is, in part, what Robert Rosen does with the Giving Pledge billionaires. The Gates and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge in 2010 to encourage the world's billionaires to give away at least half their wealth to philanthropy. Once the wealthy start giving and talking about it, others follow suit, Rosen says.
One of the world's richest women, MacKenzie Bezos joined the other 203 pledgers with surnames including Marriott, Ellison, Bloomberg, Branson, Zuckerberg and Rockefeller last year. Bezos, whose ex is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, wrote that giving away her fortune would take time, effort and care.
"But I won't wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty."
McLeod agrees that talking about philanthropy encourages others to come on board.
"People are very motivated by what their peers are doing."
He says as a nation we need to be talking more about why philanthropy benefits everyone.
"The message that our lives are better if the charity sector is stronger does not get out there. We don't do that well enough."
The reasons why some of the ultra-wealthy might hang on to more dosh than they really need are varied. They include the fear of unexpectedly losing some of their money (Eric Watson dropped off this year's Rich List), not knowing when they and their children have enough, or simply that they were too busy running the business that made them rich in the first place. Some are worried that if they make a hasty decision they'll waste their money. Still, others might intend to leave a legacy in their wills.
Rosen says the desire to do it well and make an impact can be a little paralysing. "Possibly … they think they'll be wealthier next year, more experienced and somehow have more time on their hands to make better decisions."
With philanthropy, there is no natural sense of urgency, no "penalty" for delay.
Hawkesby points out that delaying philanthropic giving can cost lives. Starship research and equipment donated in past years mean children can now be saved who, 20 years ago, would have been sent home to die.
"If a person's kept the money for 20 years and we aren't able to use it for research then we've lost hundreds of more kids rather than if we can put it into use now," Hawkesby says.
Talking about the next generation
With enormous baby-boomer wealth beginning to transfer to the next generation, changes are already occurring in the world of philanthropy.
McLeod's research shows an estimated $150b of Kiwi wealth will transfer to the children of baby boomers within the next 10 to 20 years. While only about 1.4 per cent of that is likely to go to charity, it will still be a significant amount.
In the past decade, donations to traditional religious organisations have nosedived and people are less likely to sponsor a child through an international charity. Instead, they're looking closer to home, donating to social services, community development, and arts and culture.
Overall, the proportion of "mass market" of givers is gradually dropping but those who do give are donating more. That mass-market sector only spikes when they respond to disasters such as the Canterbury earthquakes, floods, and the Christchurch mosque shootings.
Sue McCabe says the next generation has a different view of "what giving looks like". "They're very values driven. They're confronted by climate change. They care a lot about social issues."
The children of Warehouse magnate Sir Stephen Tindall and his wife, Margaret, are examples of the next philanthropic generation. The five Tindall children have quietly started Next Gen, their own foundation that supports creative arts programmes for young people.
Daughters Elizabeth and Kate work for the Tindall Foundation, which gives away around $12m a year, son Rob is a trustee and the two youngest sons, Jeremy and Ben, are involved with Next Gen. They don't want to be interviewed or photographed, they just want to get on with it.
Rosen thinks climate change will be at the forefront for future generations. So will education, health, poverty, the curing of diseases, and scientific research. In the US there has been "invigorated investment" in the infrastructure for democracy, including journalism.
"That wasn't something that was top of mind three or four years go."
McCabe says upcoming generations will be active in areas where the older generation haven't had to be.
"Philanthropy will respond to that. The next generation may do it differently but I have confidence they will do it well."
The big hitters
When it comes to philanthropy in New Zealand it's often the same names – either charitable foundations or individuals – that keep cropping up.
Take support of the arts. In the foyer of the impressive ASB Waterfront Theatre is a list of names of donors who are synonymous with the arts: Trevor and Jan Farmer, the Friedlander Foundation, Dame Jenny Gibbs, Ross and Josephine Green, Anne and Peter Hinton, Sir Chris and Lady Dayle Mace and Sir James Wallace.
Philanthropists like Dame Rosie Horton and her husband, Michael, Erika and Robin Congreve, and families with surnames including Fisher, Fletcher, Friedlander, Paykel, Goodfellow, Hellaby, Erceg and Myers have made up a Who's Who of Auckland's wealthy who regularly get out their chequebooks.
But it's happening all over the country. Generous Kiwis give away an estimated $3.5b a year, 55 per cent of which is given by individuals. Many, having made their money in business, set up trusts and foundations in order to give back.
Below is a selection of donations made by some of New Zealand's major benefactors.
Donations from individuals and families:
• Graeme and Robyn Hart : the couple made a $10m donation to the University of Otago to help build a $28m school dental teaching facility in South Auckland.
• Andrew Bagnall : the businessman and motor racing enthusiast has donated $1.2m for academic scholarships.
• Bernie and Kaye Crosby : founders of Waikato-based Profile Foods, including the Mother Earth brand, the couple donate generously to philanthropic causes and medical research, including $1.6m through their Neuro Research Charitable Trust. Bernie was diagnosed with Parkinson's 12 years ago.
• Cliff and Susanna Cook : donated $5m to establish the Joyce Cook Chair in Ageing Well at the University of Auckland, in memory of the Metlifecare founder's mother.
• George Mason : Taranaki philanthropist Dr George Mason has donated millions of dollars towards environmental causes and natural science, including a $5m donation to establish the George Mason Centre for the Natural Environment at the University of Auckland.
• Julian Robertson : the New York billionaire, who owns substantial property in New Zealand including Kauri Cliffs Lodge and golf course, has gifted millions of dollars worth of art to the Auckland Art Gallery and has donated to other causes in New Zealand, including $5m to the Christchurch earthquake recovery appeal and pledged $6.8m to the University of Auckland for its For All Our Futures campaign.
• Liangren Li : the Chinese businessman donated $10.9m to cancer research at the University of Auckland after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Another Chinese donor has given $5m through the Li Ka Shing Foundation to the university's For All Our Futures.
• Mark Dunajtschik : the Wellington property developer has donated to many causes but his biggest gesture is $50m to build a new children's hospital in Wellington.
• Mitch Plaw : the Hamilton-based managing director of Vantage Aluminium Joinery and his wife are major supporters of sports, including hockey (sponsoring the Black Sticks), equestrian and cycling. They are also funding an extensive native regeneration project in south Waikato.
• Raye Freedman : The late Raye Freedman was a self-made property developer who supported the arts and education for young women. She made significant donations to Epsom Girls' Grammar School's performing arts centre and arts scholarships for students.
• Sir Colin Giltrap : car dealing magnate is a major supporter of sports, including motor racing.
• Sir Eion Edgar : the former NZ stock exchange chairman and his wife, Lady Jan, have donated many millions of dollars in the Otago region, helping to build sports and educational facilities, funding medical research and supporting the arts.
• Sir Peter Leitch : known as The Mad Butcher, Sir Peter has supported a variety of charitable organisations, including the Mad Butcher and Suburban Newspapers Community Trust.
• Donations and grants from foundations and charitable trusts:
• Auckland FoundatIon : funded by donors who want to make Auckland a better place. Last year gave out $1.1m in grants.
• Community Trust South : founded in 1998, it has since approved funding of more than $195m. Last year it gave out $7.68m in grants.
• David Levene Foundation : net assets $60m; gave away $1.44m last year. Last year philanthropist Sir David Levene donated $5m to the University of Auckland for brain research.
• Douglas Charitable Trust : the late Sir Graeme and Lady Ngaire Douglas have been long-time supporters of Starship, including donating a $3m MRI scanner. Last year the trust contributed a $9m endowment fund for training on six medical manikins or "sim children".
• Douglas Goodfellow Charitable Trust : net assets $98m; gave away $1.9m last year. The late Sir Douglas Goodfellow gave away millions of dollars to medical charities, the Presbyterian Church and St Kentigern College in his lifetime.
• D V Bryant Trust : the trust was originally set up in 1924 and now has net assets of $40.2m. Last year it gave away more than $1.7m. The year before it donated a similar amount to the Bryant Retreat for Women.
• Fletcher Trust : established by Sir James Fletcher in 1943, the trust has net assets of $31.8m. In the year ending March 2018, it gave away $907,000.
• Foundation North : founded in 1988 (formerly the ASB Community Trust), the trust has made more than $1 billion in grants to support communities in Auckland and Northland. Approved grants of $37.6m last year.
• Friedlander Foundation : set up by Michael Friedlander and his wife, Harriet, $52.44m in net assets; gave away $1.4m last year.
• Hugh Green Foundation : established in 1998, the foundation has net assets of $132m; donated $8.4m last year, including $5m for addiction research at the University of Auckland. It previously donated $7.1m to create a biomedical research hub in Wellington.
• Hugo Charitable Trust : set up in 2017 by Maryanne Green in honour of her father, Hugh, the trust has assets of $75.4m. Last year it gave away $3.5m, including a $3m donation to the University of Auckland for medical research and bioengineering.
• James Wallace Arts Trust : net assets $17.4m; has donated millions of dollars in support of the arts.
• Jasmine Charitable Trust: established by Trade Me's Sam Morgan, the trust has net assets of $20.14m; gave away $7.78m last year.
• Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust : net assets $72.8m; gave away $4m last year.
• J R McKenzie Trust : net assets of $121.3m; gave away $5.53m last year.
• Len Reynolds Trust (Waikato): $28m in net assets; paid out $1m last year.
• Next Foundation: established with a $100m donation from Neal and Annette Plowman to support environmental and educational causes within the next 10 years.
• P H Masfen Charitable Trust : founded by businessman Peter Masfen, the trust has net assets of $41m and last year paid out $1.8m in grants and donations. Former rowing champion Masfen supports various charities and sporting organisations, and also works through the Woolf Fisher Trust and the JAB Hellaby Endowment Trust.
• Rata Foundation : $4m in net assets; made grants of $16.8m last year.
• Rotoroa Island Trust : set up by the Plowmans to establish a wildlife sanctuary on Rotoroa Island. Net assets $28m. Spent $2m to run the programme last year.
• TECT (Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust) : has paid out $117m in grants since its formation in 1993. Last year it approved grants of $7.3m.
• Ted Manson Foundation : property developer/investor Manson, who spent his childhood years in a state house, is spending $160m on three social housing projects in Auckland. The foundation, established in 2014, also supports an extensive list of charities and schools.
• Tindall Foundation : set up by Sir Stephen Tindall and his wife, Margaret, the foundation is one of the biggest, donating more than $185m since 1995, including $8.1m to Canterbury earthquake recovery. The foundation has net assets of $226.7m and last year gave away $11.45m.
• Todd Foundation : established in 1972 by the Todd family, the foundation has given away more than $82.1m. It has net assets of $22.8m and last year donated $3.32m.
• Trust Waikato : trust funds of $410m; approved grants totaling $13.1m last year.
• Woolf Fisher Trust : net assets $88.2m; gave away $1.7m last year.