Former Te Awamutu businessman Morris McFall will have another chapter to add to his life story with his first Queen's Birthday honour.

He has received a Queen's Service Medal for his services to the community and philanthropy.

Morris founded the McFall group of companies, including major fuel distributor McFall Fuel, and has contributed funds, time and resources to charitable and philanthropic causes.

Born in 1935, Morris grew up on a dairy farm in Te Awamutu. In 2002 he and wife Hilary moved to Mount Maunganui after their middle son Bryce's quadbike accident left him a tetraplegic at 39.


"He needed 24/7 care," said Morris.

Bryce's injuries and recovery was part of the reason Morris established a rehabilitation centre and gym for disabled people with an emphasis on spinal injuries, post-operative recovery and congenital diseases in 2005.

Morris considers the NextStep New Zealand rehabilitation centre one of his biggest achievements.

"That has been a pretty major exercise," said Morris.

There are now 150 fulltime members at the rehabilitation centre built across the road from the McFall Fuel headquarters on Hocking St.

"I have always had an inclination to help people around me who are prepared to help themselves.

"We want to leave this place better than we found it."

The McFall Museum was also a labour of love for many years and one of his "greatest pleasures".


His fully self-funded museum, also next to McFall Fuel headquarters, displays a collection of vintage tractors, stationary engines and classic cars that have been restored to their former glory.

Morris's fascination with machinery grew since he began his career as a dairy farmer, buying his first 60 acre family farm in Paterangi in the late 1950s.

"I was born a dairy farmer," he said.

In 1969, he was awarded a Nuffield Agricultural Scholarship to study large-scale dairying in the United Kingdom and in Europe.

"I was given an eight-month round the world open-air ticket to study agriculture."

Later, local opportunities saw McFall Enterprises grow to include road construction and civil works before securing a fuel distribution contract with BP.


He was in charge of a fleet of tankers that serviced the central North Island, operating seven days out of three terminals including McFall Fuel in Mount Maunganui.

McFall Fuel soon became its own entity separate from McFall Enterprises Limited and rapidly grew into a large-scale operation, from a small, family-owned fuel delivery business set up in the 1980s.

In February 2000 the company was sold to Excell Corporation, which sold on to Downer in 2009 to become McFall Enterprises.

Being awarded a Queen's honour was "nice and comforting"; to know he was being recognised by his peers.

Subscribe to Premium

"The key thing is through life all of the decisions I have made between opportunities and threats, the opportunities have far outweighed the threats." And those opportunities, Morris said, had been made even more special to have been shared with his wife Hilary by his side.

"She has been a significant part of my life."


The pair have supported many charities including St John Ambulance, Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Waipuna Hospice and Starship children's hospital.

Morris's life story has been published in a book for his 10 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But now he will have one more page to add — about how grandad was awarded a Queen's Birthday honour.