Sir Roy McKenzie, born 1922, is one of New Zealand’s leading dedicated philanthropists who has contributed to the community for over 50 years. He has spent half of his life contributing funds to areas of need in New Zealand society and being involved with countless organisations. Consequently, he has had a significant impact in the areas of education and welfare, notably for improving education for disadvantaged children, promoting early intervention, and for research into the welfare of families.
He was a Member of the J R McKenzie Trust Board from 1947 to 1993, was the Chair for 17 years, and substantially increased the Trust’s assets. He also established two other grant making bodies in 1985, the Roy McKenzie Education Foundation and the Roy McKenzie Foundation, which are renowned for their innovative approaches to supporting community endeavours. A wide range of agencies and communities have benefited from the foundations’ generosity. The Foundations have funded the creation of the Sign Language Dictionary Project, founded the Lady McKenzie Scented Garden for the visually impaired in Wellington, and instigated the provision of educational facilities in National Parks. Also, the Education Foundation funded the institution of the University Teaching Development Centre at Victoria University of Wellington and established scholarships for Palliative Nursing Students in 1995.
Over his lifetime, Sir Roy McKenzie has also been actively involved in and made an impact on scores of community organisations, including Birthright New Zealand, the Deaf Institute of New Zealand, the National Parks Centennial Commission, the McKenzie Residential School in Christchurch, the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, the New Zealand Foundation of Women’s Refuges, the New Zealand Society for Music Therapy, the Outward Bound Trust, the Seabrook McKenzie Centre, SPELD NZ Ltd, Te Omanga Hospice, and many others. He also served on the Deaf Decade Trust, the J R McKenzie Youth Education Trust, and the Ngā Manu Trust, and in 1990, he initiated Philanthropy New Zealand in order to bring together a wide range of trusts and groups to talk about the process of giving.
He has also held a number of company directorships with businesses such as J R McKenzie Ltd, Rangatira Ltd, the James Cook Hotel, Roydon Lodge Stud, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, and James White Aviation.
In addition, he has been involved in harness horse breeding and the harness racing industry. He is a Past President of the Wellington Harness Racing Club and wrote The Roydon Heritage: 50 years of Racing and Breeding. Also, he was Captain of the New Zealand Ski Team in 1949 and 1951 and at the Oslo Winter Olympic Games in 1952.
Sir Roy McKenzie was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Literature by Massey University in 1992 and the Rotary International Service Above Self Award in 1995.
Citation prepared 1995