It seems hard to believe that only 12 months ago New Zealand entered into a state of lockdown in attempt to eradicate COVID-19 from our shores.

While the health response has been largely successful the impact on our wider well-being has been enormous, especially for the families that have lost loved ones through the virus. The economic impact has also been felt in all corners of our country with many great businesses forced to close down with subsequent job losses and lost incomes. Some sectors have recovered quite well while others continue to struggle, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sector.

The team at Hugo are very pleased to have donated over $2m during this difficult year to many great causes throughout New Zealand and especially to those affected by COVID. This takes us to over $12m donated in our first four years to our wide range of charitable purposes.

I was particularly proud that the Hugo Charitable Trust was early off the blocks to provide assistance for immigrant families especially in Central Otago. The impact of COVID has meant that many of these families have found themselves trapped between their immigration status and their financial ability to respond. Often they have invested everything they have to make a new life in New Zealand and have few resources for a plan B. With seed funding from Hugo, the Greatest Needs Fund was set up and was able to raise and distribute over $1m to meet every day needs and healthcare for these families – something that would have pleased Hugh Green, an immigrant himself.

Another real success this year has been the utilisation of the Hugo House on Lake Hayes. Providing totally free accommodation to people who through personal circumstances couldn’t normally have a holiday has had a big impact on those individuals and families.

I would like to thank our donations team of Aoibheann Monaghan and Kayleigh Blythen for all of their hard work in searching out and researching so many worthwhile charities. Also a big thank you to our CFO Kerry Ludlam for expertly navigating us through such difficult financial times, allowing us to make our donations while preserving our capital base of $75m.

I am also delighted to report that we have appointed Aoibheann, as a trustee and the CEO of the Hugo Charitable Trust. Aoibheann brings a refreshing youthful perspective to the trust and shares a deep understanding of our ethos and ambitions. Maryanne and I are both very confident that Hugh Green would have been very pleased to see a young Irish woman at the helm of Hugo and would have taken great pleasure in getting to know Aoibheann.

This year 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.

Thank you for taking an interest and I hope you enjoy reading our fourth annual report.

Mark Owens