Programme to promote leadership in district

Stewart family representatives Alan Stewart and Lauren Thornhill launch the Bruce Stewart...
Stewart family representatives Alan Stewart and Lauren Thornhill launch the Bruce Stewart Leadership Programme at Calder Stewart’s Milton headquarters last month. PHOTO: BSLP/SUPPLIED
A desire to "pay it forward" has led to the foundation of a new leadership fund in South Otago.

Calder Stewart co-founder Bruce Stewart’s granddaughter, Lauren Thornhill, said the $50,000-a-year Bruce Stewart Leadership Programme, launched by the Stewart family late last month, would promote leadership development within the Tokomairiro district.

Nationwide property and construction firm Calder Stewart was founded by Mr Stewart and "best mate" Lance Calder in Milton in 1955, and today remains headquartered on State Highway1 north of Milton and employs more than 400 staff.

Ms Thornhill said her grandfather was a humble man, who believed in family values and helping others.

"Calder Stewart was built on family values and Bruce’s humble leadership style.

"When reflecting on his legacy, he noted he was grateful he had a good start in life and was supported to pursue his dreams. He often spoke of his commitment to the community and, throughout his lifetime, was a great contributor to the Tokomairiro region."

She said at the time of his death in 2018 her grandfather was still living close to the first home he built in Milton.

The new programme would tap into an annual fund of up to $50,000 for the benefit of the people of the Tokomairiro district.

The programme would target leadership development, and was open to current and former residents seeking to further their leadership credentials, Ms Thornhill said.

"Leadership takes many forms and, for Bruce Stewart, it was focused on relationships, opportunities and believing that ‘whatever you do, you have to do it properly’. These will be the guiding principals for the programme."

She said the programme would serve as a "hand up, not a handout", for potential awardees.

"We want to honour his legacy."

The programme has two funding rounds each year, applications for which can be made at

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