A massively generous legal bequest

The Nikau Foundation announced:

A man who has dedicated his life to the law, Retired District Court Judge, , has established a charitable trust devoted to the development of legal education and research for the betterment of New Zealand’s legal system.

The Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation will promote legal scholarship in all areas of the law and the development of legal research, scholarship, writing and education.

The Foundation, announced at today’s memorial service, is expected to be worth around $30 million, and is one of the largest single purpose bequests made in New Zealand.

That is huge.

It will be administered by the Nikau Foundation as trustee, with an advisory independent Grants and Scholarship committee established by retired Judge Borrin comprising: The Chief Justice of New Zealand; the President of the Law Society; the Dean of the Law School at Victoria University; Retired Chief Judge, Thomas Goddard and his alternate David Goddard QC; and a representative of the Nikau Foundation.

The Nikau Foundation is a charitable trust that attracts gifts, trusts and legacies and invests them for the benefit principally of the Wellington region. The income from these investments is distributed to charitable purposes in accordance with each donor’s wishes. Nikau Foundation also manages some funds that benefit all of New Zealand and the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation will be by far the largest of these.

Chris Milne, Chair of the Nikau foundation said: “This is a marvellous legacy left by a man who has dedicated his life to law. Ian Borrin was a humble and gentle man of integrity, who sought no recognition for his generosity. He worked hard in his final months to ensure there was clarity in the Foundation’s purpose, and that it would be a lasting tribute to the memory of his parents.

The rule of law is what underpins a successful country. It’s an excellent area to donate to.

“Ian supported scholarship and legal publications, perhaps a neglected object of philanthropy in New Zealand, but he knew that the rule of law underpins any community and he believed very strongly in its importance for New Zealand. It is entirely consistent with the way in which this modest, kind and scholarly man lived his life that this parting gift is one that looks to the future with optimism. We will all greatly miss this good man. 

“Members of the legal community at all levels will be supported by grants and scholarships to undertake legal writing, research and education through this gift. Although the Foundation provides direct support to those in the legal community, there is no doubt that its primary beneficiaries are the people of New Zealand who live under the security of law, something Ian Borrin believed in and worked tirelessly for. It is a magnificent legacy which will be of lasting benefit,” Dame Sian Elias said.

A $30 million legacy will probably mean around $1.5 million a year is available for grants and scholarships.

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