History of the
Fletcher Trust


The origin of the Fletcher Trust as a philanthropic trust dates back to the 1970’s when J C Fletcher, as managing director of Fletcher Holdings Limited initiated the establishment of a Trust, through approval of the Supreme Court from the transfer of the surplus of a superannuation scheme. Originally providing medical and educational benefits to company employees and especially Maori and Polynesian employees, the Trust with further transfers widened its distribution scope.

Fletcher Holdings Limited letterhead

In 1980 the Deed was altered again to allow trustees to give money wider to a much broader umbrella of “charitable purposes” and following the corporate merger of Fletcher Holdings, Challenge and Tasman Pulp & Paper the Trust acquired the new name – Fletcher Challenge Charitable Trust.

On this basis the Trust, as Fletcher Trust today, dates back 50-years as one of the earliest established continuing corporate related charitable trusts.

The Trust owes not just its foundation and formative period but much of its development to the extraordinary contribution of Sir James Fletcher (the second). The Trust while it has evolved carries the ethics and value set of Sir James and his altruism and belief in the potential and purpose of industry and commerce.

James (JC) Fletcher, Managing Director of the Fletcher Group standing by painting of his father, Sir James Fletcher I, 1976

Fletcher Challenge Years

The Trust during the 20-year period of Fletcher Challenge grew and diversified. The scope of giving, while restricted to New Zealand, was broadened considerably from health and education to include support for initiatives and community groups throughout New Zealand.

Fletcher Challenge logo, 1981

The Collection

The company’s art collection was established in 1962 with the acquisition of a series of Hoyte watercolours. It was significantly expanded by Fletcher Holdings during the development of a new headquarters at Penrose, Auckland, in the mid-1960s, and then in 1981 with the Fletcher Challenge merger and the acquisition of artworks for the headquarters in Wellington.

See website for a full history of the Collection.

Robin White, Hoopers Inlet, 1976, Oil on canvas on board, 1205 x 1205mm

The refurbishment and reestablishment of the Fletcher Challenge headquarters at Penrose and the integration of the collections in 1991 coincided with the transition to Trust ownership and guardianship. Additionally, the Trust assumed the responsibility to act as the philanthropic arm of the company.

This provided a financial scale to the Trust to make substantial philanthropic contributions into communities and not-for-profit organisations. Major charitable activities still operating today, such as Young Enterprise Trust and Business Mentors New Zealand, acknowledge the financial support of the Fletcher Challenge Trust and the personal contribution of Sir James to their success and sustainability.

Fletcher House Dunedin

In 1990 the company and Trust in partnership purchased the house and property at Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula. This was the first building contract of the company founder James Fletcher (father of JC Fletcher) after he emigrated from Scotland in 1908. The house had been modified by the small number of owners over the eighty years and Fletcher Construction undertook the project to return the house to its original form, both interior and exterior. The House continues to be owned by the Fletcher Trust and is managed by the Otago Peninsula Trust and open to the public.

See website for more information.

Fletcher House, Dunedin

The Archives

The archives were established in the 1980’s as an integral part of the Fletcher Challenge corporate information services function. Housed within the Penrose West complex the archives became a repository of information on the businesses, including precedent businesses within Fletcher Challenge corporation. Collectively it forms a unique record of New Zealand’s commercial history dating back to the mid 19th century.

In 2001, with the break-up of Fletcher Challenge, the archive was transferred to the guardianship and management of the Fletcher Trust.

See website for history of the Archives.

Fletcher Construction truck, 1921


In 2002 with the continuation of the Trust’s philanthropic activity, the continuing ownership of the Art Collection and the integration of the Archives the Trust became an independent charitable Trust and separate and distinct from the remaining division of the company, Fletcher Building Limited and reverted to the name, The Fletcher Trust.

The Trust has three principal activities – Educational Philanthropy; Art Collection and Archives.

The Trust is committed to meeting it’s charitable purposes and objectives and is governed and structured to continue in perpetuity.