KELIHER - HENRY -JOSEPH -OTAGO - NZ - 1930 ----------- 1991
edmondsallan - Hello -By 1930 Kelliher had become a wealthy man, recently returned from a world tour with his wife. Although only 34 he could have retired to a life of leisure. Characteristically, however, he launched himself on a new career in the brewing industry, entering into a partnership with the Coutts family, who the year before had opened the new Waitemata Brewery at Otahuhu. In spite of the onset of the great depression, and the indignant opposition of both prohibitionists and established Auckland brewers, the venture was a success, particularly after it was converted in October 1930 into a public company, Dominion Breweries. On Kelliher's urging, the company periodically increased its capital, mainly using it to acquire hotel outlets, on which (he was convinced) the expansion of the firm depended. By extending its market area first through the North Island, and then, in the 1960s and 1970s, through the South Island, Dominion Breweries became in fact as well as in name a nationwide concern.
Until his retirement from its board in 1982, Kelliher contributed more than anyone to the success of Dominion Breweries. He was an astute manager of talented executives, exploiting their abilities yet retaining their loyalty. His flair for an innovative brand of advertising helped to open up a mass market. Even in the years of the six o'clock swill he renounced the tradition of beer barns, installing in his hotels carpeted lounges with original paintings on the walls.
Kelliher seemed to epitomise the traditional successful Auckland businessman: erect, immaculately attired, driving a Rolls Royce, with a fine home in fashionable Remuera and a rural estate raising pedigree stock and racehorses on Puketutu Island in the Manukau Harbour. But he was essentially a maverick, subject to intense, usually generous, but often unorthodox enthusiasms. During the depression he formed a League of Health of New Zealand Youth to advocate the issue of free milk to all schoolchildren. His great passion was monetary reform; in the 1930s he published a pamphlet, New Zealand at the crossroads, and used the Mirror to promote the idea that the state alone should create credit. A term as director of the Bank of New Zealand confirmed his views, and in 1956 he gave evidence to the Royal Commission on Monetary, Banking, and Credit Systems.
He also set himself up as a patron of the arts. In 1956 he established the Kelliher art awards, offering annual prizes of up to £500 for a traditional and realistic landscape painting. A prize for a non-abstract watercolour painting was offered from 1964. The inherent conservatism of these awards greatly annoyed sections of the art community.
Henry Kelliher's leisure pursuits included motoring, hunting, and extensive travel. He practised yoga well into old age. He was a generous donor to many charitable causes, and in recognition of his work as industrial leader and philanthropist he was knighted in 1963. He retired as chairman of Dominion Breweries at the age of 85. From then until his death at Otahuhu on 29 September 1991 he lived at his home on Puketutu Island which, attractively enlarged, he had made his permanent home in the 1950s. Evelyn Kelliher had died in 1986, and Kelliher was survived by his four daughters. He certainly was an outstanding new zealander - Till we meet again - Regards - edmondsallan