Foundations of Heritage the Key to Local Couple’s Giving

  • Hawke’s Bay Foundation bequestors Neil Barber (left) with partner Craig Hay – image courtesy of Richard Brimer

Hawke’s Bay duo Neil Barber and Craig Hay have always been attracted to solid foundations restoring some of the region’s most iconic heritage listed buildings.  Now through a bequest in their will to Hawke’s Bay Foundation, they plan to leave their most enduring legacy yet.

Hawke’s Bay Foundation is the pair’s chosen charitable giving vehicle to support arts, heritage and culture in perpetuity as the areas of interest closest to their hearts.  Neil knows the money they leave will keep on having tangible impact for generations to come.

“I very much like the concept of capital being protected and only the income derived being used for distribution. For this reason the Hawke’s Bay Foundation model works for me alongside the fact my partner Craig sits as a trustee on the Foundation Board.  Both he and I have observed this organization since its inception and the progress that has been made, watching it go from strength to strength,” says Neil.

Whilst not originally from Hawke’s Bay, Neil and Craig have lived here for twenty plus years and both agree it feels ‘very much like home.’  An award winning track record restoring and renovating Napier’s Art Deco Masonic Hotel along with colonial rural homestead, Greenhill are testament to how invested the pair are in progressing the region.  Now nearing retirement age, Neil says their estate planning has become a recurring topic of conversation and a priority.

“It’s a bit cliché but time marches on.  We have more and more friends who are experiencing health events and you just never know.

For us we need certainty that the areas that hold special meaning to us will keep on being supported, long after we’ve gone.

“We have a family trust company. As part of setting that up we have the ability to select a charitable organisation within New Zealand to be a beneficiary and Hawke’s Bay Foundation neatly fits this criteria.”

Neil says knowing the areas you want to support have been a driving incentive.

“We’re avid art collectors and passionate arts, heritage and culture enthusiasts so giving what we can to help this flourish is key to us and we’d like to think that’s been evident in our life’s work so far. Establishing colonial homestead, Greenhill as a luxury accommodation business was our first foray into restoring a heritage building.  Another labour of love and perhaps proudest moment was renovating Napier’s Art Deco Masonic Hotel and it was wonderful to receive a number of awards for this endeavour. We still own other commercial properties in Hawke’s Bay.”

If ‘time is money’, Neil has given back to the community in more ways than one. In the past he has supported the Hawke’s Bay Charity Wine Auction, the Art Deco Trust, Festival Opera and the Prima Volta Charitable Trust whilst also serving as a director on various Boards including: Napier City Business Inc, Art Deco Trust, Hawke’s Bay Tourism Industry Association and Hawke’s Bay Tourism.  He’s also chaired the Art Deco Trust and Hawke’s Bay Tourism Industry Association and is currently on the board of the MTG Foundation.

He says at the end of the day, contemplating the legacy he and Craig would like to leave on the world has become clear cut.

“Whilst it is nice to make some provision for family members we have always felt that receipt of a bequest should not be life changing and that its important to make ones own way in life, not sit back in anticipation of an inheritance.  Talking to your professional adviser about your philanthropic wishes can help the community that’s been good to you and we feel very content Hawke’s Bay will benefit from ours.”