Chairman’s Welcome

Mark OwensHugh Green once said to me “You can have all the money in the world, but it’s of no value without your health”. While COVID-19 has attracted a lot of our nation’s attention and resources over the last two years, other regular health concerns and diseases haven’t abated. 

For some Kiwi’s the difficulty in getting access to timely diagnosis and treatment has impacted their physical or mental health while for others it has been the financial strain brought on by business closures and job losses. This year the Hugo Charitable Trust has placed an emphasis on donations that go some way to improving Kiwi’s health either directly or indirectly.

Our largest donation was to the Gilles McIndoe Research Institute where Dr Swee Tan ONZM, MBBS, PhD, FRACS leads a world-class research team. Swee’s work may lead to a paradigm shift in the way numerous diseases, including cancer, fibrotic conditions, and vascular birthmarks, are treated. Swee and his team are focused on making cancer treatment less intrusive, more accessible, and more affordable. Hugo has donated $1m to help Swee to get a phase II glioblastoma (brain cancer) clinical trial off the ground. 

Pancreatic cancer is a cruel disease that has had little academic attention in New Zealand. Hugo is pleased to have donated $250k to the Surgical and Translational Research Centre (STaR) at Auckland University taking our total to $1m toward their research in the field of pancreatic cancer. We have also made a donation in 2021 of $250k to the Auckland Medical Research Fund (AMRF) taking their total to $1m likewise, and also tagged for research into pancreatic cancer. We are hoping that our young scientists can bring the world’s best practices for the treatment of this disease to New Zealand. These and other donations have taken our total to medical research this year to $1,296,900.

A donation that has been a huge success in a different way is the Hugo Bridge linking Clyde to Cromwell on the Dunstan Bike Trail. The business case to build the trail relied on 7,000 riders per year, but the reality is that since opening over 72,000 Kiwis and visitors have ridden the 55km trail.  

I’ve biked the trail myself and it is really heart-warming to see so many families and friends of all ages (including Hugh’s brother John at 88 years) out there doing such a healthy and fun activity. 

In May we celebrate our 5th birthday by which time we will have donated over $14 million to causes within New Zealand. I would like to thank our Founder Maryanne Green for having the vision to establish the Hugo Charitable Trust and our CEO and Trustee Aoibheann Monaghan for her leadership and ambition. Thanks also to Bruce Stewart QC and Kathryn Roberts for their tireless energy working as trustees for Hugo since it was founded. I would also like to draw your attention to one of our youth workers, Lorenzo Chambers. Lorenzo was awarded the Minister of Health Youth Volunteer of the Year for 2021 by Hon Andrew Little for his work with Living Options of Alexandra – congratulations Lorenzo.

Hugo has been the very happy recipient of a number of donations from generous businesses and individuals. Please read more about them throughout our report and support them where you can. We are also delighted that the continued support from our founder has made it possible for all of the income from our investments and donors to be available for charity with nothing taken out for costs.

Lastly our thoughts go out to the people of Ukraine. Hugo has made a donation to the NZ Red Cross Ukraine Appeal. We pray for a quick ending to the horror these proud people are facing.

Mark Owens