Thanks Sir Julian

August 13th, 2011 at 11:14 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young at NZ Herald reports:

That year, Mr Robertson fought New York auditors who claimed he owed US$26.7 million in city tax for the year 2000 because he had crossed the 183-day threshold as a resident. He won.

Less money spent on taxes means more for charity, and Mr Robertson has joined Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in The Giving Pledge – billionaires who pledge to give away half their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Mr Robertson has given $5 million to the Christchurch earthquake recovery effort, according to New Zealand sources.

His next foray into charitable causes in New Zealand promises to be a little more controversial.

His charitable vehicle, the Robertson Foundation, is planning to set up a version of Teach for America in New Zealand – Teach for All – a programme that encourages bright university graduates to attach themselves to a school for two years.

John Hood, the former vice chancellor of the University of Auckland and Oxford University, now heads the Robertson Foundation.

Sounds excellent. Wikipedia reports on TFA:

Teach For America recruits recent college graduates and professionals to teach for two years in urban and rural communities throughout the United States. The goal of Teach For America is for its corps members not only to make a short-term impact on their students, but also to become lifelong leaders in pursuing educational equality. Corps members do not have to be certified teachers, although certified teachers may apply.

I sense some opposition from unions. If you can’t have less than 100% qualified for playschool. how can you for primary and secondary school?

Since the founding of the organization, several independent studies have been conducted to gauge the effectiveness of Teach For America corps members relative to teachers who entered the teaching profession via other channels. Recent teacher pathway studies in three states — Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee — suggest that Teach For America corps members have a greater impact on student achievement than new teachers from more traditional certification programs.

This means there will definitely be entrenched opposition!

The founder, Wendy Kopp, was only 22 when she proposed the creation in her thesis at Princeton University, and went on to make it a reality. Someone who has really made a difference.

And the honours are …

December 31st, 2009 at 6:00 am by David Farrar

The full honours list is here.

The top honour of membership of the Order of New Zealand goes to Helen Clark. In some ways, it is no surprise, as former PMs David Lange, Mike Moore and Jim Bolger were also made ONZ, and Don McKinnon also is a member for holding high international office.

So it was inevitable Clark would be made a member, but so soon after she left office will leave a sour taste for many. One right wing friend commented:

What the fuck Farrar?  First a UN appointment now this!!!

Next Key will name a star in her fucking honour and have her face on the new flag.

Personally I’m still more upset by Cullen being appointed to an SOE Board while an MP.

We have one new Dame, and five Knights.

Aucklanders will know Dame Lesley Max well.

Professor Sir Mason Durie is one of the most prominent Maori health professionals.

Sir Peter Jackson may not have got the tax breaks he wants for the film industry, but he is now KNZM. He has said this award surpassed winning the Oscars. I suspect he would not have said this, had titles for the top honours not been restored. I am so pleased the Government did restore titles.

Sir Douglas Myers recognition is long overdue.

Justice Sir Bruce Robertson is a former President of the Law Commission and current Court of Appeal judge.

Finally it is honorary but nice to see recognition of the amazingly generous philanthropy of Sir Julian Robertson. Robertson first visited New Zealand in the 1950s to spend a year here writing a novel. He obviously fell in love with it. In May 2009 he announced the donation of $115 million of art to the Auckland Art Gallery – the single largest gift ever in Australasia.

Won’t comment on the entire list, but also worth mentioning former Auditor-General Kevin Brady who is made a CNZM. He was the public service at its finest as he stood up to Parliament and insisted that their funding of various pledge cards and the like was illegal.

Julian Robertson

May 8th, 2009 at 10:45 am by David Farrar

This Herald story from 2005 has Trevor Mallard accusing Julian Robertson of being a secret American bagman for National, despite the fact he had also donated to Dover Samuels.

Mike Williams called him a “very right-wing activist”.

This awful American bagman, and “very right-wing” activist has just donated $115 million of art to the Auckland Art Gallery.

Bravo Mr Robertson. The largest single gift in Australasia. The donated peices include two Picassos.

He said he and his wife had the idea for the gift after the gallery hosted an exhibition of 14 paintings from their New York collection in 2006.

The free show attracted 30,000 visitors in 30 days, and the positive public response via letters and comments, which the gallery sent to the Robertsons, profoundly moved them.

“They were most appreciative of seeing the pictures, more appreciative than anything else we have ever done,” said Mr Robertson.

“You fall in love with these pictures a little bit and you want to be sure they will be left with somebody who loves them and that [exhibition] made us realise that they would be loved … We are really very happy that those pictures are going to be in Auckland for the rest of their time on Earth.”

What a stunning gift, that will be with us for centuries.