Talking philanthropy: Sir Stephen Tindall, left, and Sir Eion Edgar in Queenstown


It takes one to know one.

The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall was guest speaker at a Queenstown function recently where local investor and philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar was made a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Directors.

Having founded the philanthropic Tindall Foundation, Tindall’s no slug when it comes to philanthropy, however he told guests Edgar’s ‘‘the definition of philanthropy in New Zealand’’.

He tells Mountain Scene: ‘‘I think Eion Edgar is an absolutely unsung hero in the country.

‘‘He hasn’t been seeking the profile he deserves, but he does absolutely need to take a bow for what he’s done for NZ’’ — that contribution spans education, the arts, sport and business.

Tindall agrees Queenstown’s a hotbed of philanthropy with the likes of Edgar, the Wakatipu Community Foundation and Wakatipu High’s Generation Give programme.

With the number of rich people in the resort, ‘‘there’s an opportunity for it to be an even bigger hotbed,’’ he says.



As for Wakatipu High students studying philanthropy, he suggests ‘‘even if you don’t have any money, you can still be a philanthropist with your time’’.

For adults wanting to support charities in their will, Tindall says people should look at using the community foundation.

‘‘Sometimes it can be quite expensive to set up your own trust to manage what you want to give, so something like the local community foundation does all that for you, they’ve got the expertise to do it.’’

Auckland-based Tindall — who has local interests through The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Torpedo7 and Noel Leeming, and a personal stake in Branches Station — admits Queenstown’s growth’s surprised him.

‘‘In some ways, too much growth — it’s busier here on the roads than where I come from, which is crazy.

‘‘I think there’s lots of opportunities … to actually put in lots more walking and biking  tracks for commuting to work, because I’ve experienced some of those morning rushes and people being stuck for a long time in their cars.’’