The history of the Sargood Bequest is intrinsically tied to one of New Zealand’s earlier companies, the firm Sargood Son & Ewen. In 1939 the Sargood Trust was established by Sir Percy Sargood. After the death of Sir Percy in 1940 and as a result of further bequests made by him the Sargood Trust held substantial shares in the firm Sargood Son & Ewen.
Sargood Trust: (1939 – 1974)
The original trustees of the Sargood Trust were all directors of the company. (1956 Board photo at right) Sargood Son & Ewen made good profits during World War II and throughout the post-war trading boom. Dividends of the company that the trust relied on did not exceed 5% as a matter of Board policy. That provided a steady income stream until the mid 1960s as the company reorganised its trading operations. Up until 1962 grants totalling 303,000 pounds had been made averaging 14,000 pounds per annum.
Sargood Bequest: (1975 – 2000)
In 1973 Bing Harris & Co made an offer for shares in Sargood Son & Ewen which was eventually accepted. This changed the position of the trust from having a ‘tied’ non-marketable investment to having cash for investment at the discretion of the trustees. In 1975 the original deed was revised and the name changed to Sargood Bequest. This was the start of the modern era of Sargood Bequest. Trustees no longer were required to be directors of the company. Investment Trustees were also appointed to manage a new diversified portfolio of investments. Grants disbursed between 1974 and 2000 total $4,050,770 averaging $150,028 per annum.
Modern Era: (2000 – )
The Sargood Bequest continues to support community groups and individuals within New Zealand in the Children & Youth, Cultural, Sports & Outdoors, Educational and Environmental areas. The modern focus is centred around access, participation and inspiration. The Financial trustees continue to manage a diversified portfolio of investments on behalf of Sargood Bequest.