Otago Uni honour for Graeme Hart

Graeme Hart
Graeme Hart

New Zealand's richest man Graeme Hart will receive an honorary doctor of commerce degree from the University of Otago.

Mr Hart's honorary doctorate will be conferred at the university's 4pm graduation ceremony tomorrow at the Dunedin Town Hall.

The university said Mr Hart was considered one of the most successful and generous businessmen to operate within New Zealand, and on a global scale.

Mr Hart left school when he was 15, but at the age of 30 had embarked on what he considered the most pivotal and influential experience of his career, undertaking a master of business administration degree at Otago University.

He said he was immensely grateful to have had the chance to study and learn from academics at the Otago School of Business, and to have experienced life at the Otago University campus, and to meet individuals with global reach.

Otago University chancellor John Ward said Mr Hart was an "outstanding'' graduate.

"I am immensely proud to be able to recognise Mr Hart's substantial contributions to New Zealand, its business community, and people,'' he said.

Mr Hart is married with two children and four grandchildren.

His priorities revolved around family, work ethic, strong values and integrity in his personal and professional life. His philanthropic focus had been on helping New Zealand children, particularly those in need.

Mr Hart preferred to keep a low profile, but individuals, family groups, organisations and schools had all benefited from his generosity.

His business career began when he was 18. Over the past 44 years he had achieved amazing success thanks, in no small part, to his leadership skills and his ability to build and retain personal relationships, the university said.

He had substantial expertise in the disciplines of accounting and finance, corporate strategy, business integration, as well as mergers and acquisitions.

Mr Hart's current profile related to building, owning and managing the largest business enterprise in New Zealand, Rank Group, under which sits a vast global platform.

The group has built and developed several substantial financial entities including Whitcoulls Group, Goodman Fielder and Carter Holt Harvey.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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