Te Kaitiaki o te Putea – The History of ASB Community Trust 1988-2008

Published 2008 – Jade Reidy (Writer); Ruth Kerr (Managing Editor) – commissioned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ASB Community Trust.

Te Kaitiaki o te Putea: The History of the ASB Community Trust 1988-2008, charts for the first time Auckland’s philanthropic beginnings and tells the story of how philanthropy has made a difference in our community.

Author Jade Reidy says Auckland has a reputation for focusing on acquiring money, as a city of quick gains and ruinous losses.

“Less well understood is the story of how Auckland gave its money away – to create some of the city’s major institutions.

“The history of the ASB Community Trust is inextricably tied to our colonial history. It’s the story of land, religion and beer, of broken kinship ties and barren marriages which imposed misfortune upon many personal fortunes,” she says.

“The wealth accrued from entrepreneurial passions for land and beer, tempered by frugal Protestant living, did not pass down certain family lines. It was instead bequeathed to city ownership – Greenlane Hospital, One Tree Hill, Myers Park, Auckland Art Gallery are just a few examples.”

A group of men who were making their personal fortunes in the 1840s decided that anybody could get ahead in the new land, with a degree of thrift and caution. They set up a trustee savings bank for ‘ordinary’ people. It became the ASB Bank, whose profits were always intended to develop the local community.

“By the 1980s, it was no longer clear who owned the trustee savings bank,” says Ms Reidy. “Social and political forces were creating pressure for change. Community trusts were formed to hold the assets of the bank and its first trustees were instantly faced with the prospect of selling it to an overseas bank.”

But out of this decision has come the ASB Community Trust, which now supports the region’s not-for-profit organisations.

To request a copy of the book, contact the Trust on (09) 360-0291, or email info@ASBCommunityTrust.org.nz

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