Mayor pays tribute to Sir John Anderson

14 November 2018

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has paid tribute to business and sports leader Sir John Anderson, who has died aged 73.

Sir John died in Wellington on Tuesday following health complications.

“Sir John was best known for his work in banking and the cricket world, but he was also a fierce proponent for Wellington,” the Mayor says.

“Many Wellington institutions have benefited from his leadership, vision and drive. He was a major figure in the Wellington business scene before his retirement and then a major figure in several public bodies after that.

“The city would be a different place today if it wasn’t for his involvement and expertise.”

Born in Wellington, Sir John studied at Victoria University before starting his working life at 17 as an office boy at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in the city.

His banking career spanned more than 30 years following his role in creating Southpac in 1972. In 1987, Southpac merged with The National Bank of New Zealand, which Sir John led through successive mergers in the 1990s, culminating in his role in the creation of ANZ National Bank in 2003.

His contributions to business and to the New Zealand community have been recognised through numerous honours and awards.

He was knighted in 1994 and in 2006 awarded the Wellington Gold Award for his business work in Wellington.

Three years earlier, the ANZ bank had purchased The National Bank, a $12 billion merger to form New Zealand’s largest company.

Sir John headed up the new organisation with his sole condition being that the head office stayed in Wellington.

He retired in 2005 and went on to be Chair of the Capital and Coast District Health Board, the Wellington Regional Strategy Committee and a member of the Wellington Regional Stadium Trust.

He was also a long-serving chair of the Basin Reserve Trust and helped develop the ground into a top-class international cricket venue.

“He will be sadly missed and our sympathies go to his family,” the Mayor says.

Councillor Simon Woolf, who holds the sport portfolio, knew and worked with Sir John for more than 30 years.

“He was an amazing role model and mentor to many. He had a lot of warmth and cared for people,” Cr Woolf says.

“Everybody knows his work in banking, with government and troubleshooting, but it went much further than that.

“He was a very quiet man and didn’t seek the limelight. But he was an amazing man and his death is a great loss to Wellington and New Zealand.”