November retirement for Trust Chair will mark end of an era

Grahame Hall, former mayor of Rotorua, will be retiring from public life at the end of November. 15 July 2016 Rotorua Daily Post Photograph by Ben Fraser. RGP 16Jul16 - RGP 26Sep16 - RGP 16Nov16 - FAREWELL: Grahame Hall will chair his last trust meeting tomorrow. PHOTO/FILE RGP 11Feb17 - Grahame Hall


After nearly 60 years of service in a wide range of elected positions, former Mayor of Rotorua and current Chairman of the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, Grahame Hall, has announced he will retire from service at this year’s Trust elections in November.

Mr Hall’s retirement will mark the end of a significant era of community service, which includes serving as a committee member, chairman, president, trustee and patron for more than 60 different organisations in areas such as sport, arts, education, culture, business, agriculture and many others.

Mr Hall was also an elected member of the Rotorua County Council and the Rotorua District Council from 1979 until 2004, holding the office of mayor from 1992 to 2004. He became a Member of the Queens Service Order in 2004, and has received a number of different scholarships and awards in his community service career.

Born and raised in Taranaki, Mr Hall moved to Rotorua in 1967, owning and operating two dairy farms in the region.

Despite an ongoing passion and commitment to making a contribution to the Rotorua community, Mr Hall says the time has finally come to put away his agenda papers for the last time, and spend some quality time with his wife Sandy, their seven children, 12 grand-children and soon-to-be two great-grand-children.

Mr Hall says he personally made the decision to retire three years ago, following the last Trust elections.

“There were a number of key developments that I wanted to see through following the last election, and in particular, our recovery from the Global Financial Crisis.

“We undertook a comprehensive two year review of the Trust’s structure and operations, and have made some significant changes as a result. These include streamlining the Trust’s operation and outsourcing the Trust’s investment management and financial services, in order to ensure the Trust is able to serve the community for many years to come.

“We now have the right structure, people and operations in place in order to weather any future international economic impacts, and ensure that we continue to provide financial support to the Rotorua community for many generations to come.”

Mr Hall was first elected to the Trust in 1994, and has been its Chair for the past 12 years.

“It has been a fantastic journey. We started with a $32 million fund, and have built that to $140 million over 22 years. In that time we have provided community contributions worth $100 million and, through those contributions, we will have virtually reached every member of the Rotorua community.

“In the past year alone we have provided grants of $10 million – one of our largest ever. I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved.”

Mr Hall says there are simply too many Trust highlights to name them all, but some of the stand-outs include the Millennial Gift of $5 million in 2000; $13.5 million for the development of the Energy Events Centre; support for a raft of different events including the World Mountain Bike Champs, Lakeside Concerts, Crankworx and others; the under-grounding of power lines; and establishing the Operating Costs grants to support community organisations for their day-to-day operations – a New Zealand-first.

“One of the highlights that I will always cherish has been working with a great group of people, including trustees and staff, community groups and volunteers who are simply the glue that holds this community together. If it wasn’t for them, Rotorua wouldn’t be the wonderful place it is today.”

Mr Hall will Chair his last Trust AGM next Thursday 21 July, and hand over the reins following the Trust’s elections on 19 November, 2016.

“It is an end of an era, but it’s time for me to step back. I feel we have achieved a great deal over the past years and in particular, I know that the Trust is in a fantastic shape for the next person. It’s been a honour and a privelige to serve the community.”

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