A widely known founder of the well-known Coastlands Shoppingtown in Paraparaumu and a highly successful Horowhenua Market Gardener, both with strong community and charitable focus, have been added to the Kapiti Horowhenua Business Hall of Fame.
At a dinner presentation in Levin on Friday 12th October, Bruce Mansell and George Sue were inducted into the Hall of Fame, bringing the total of laureates now honoured that way to twelve.
Bruce Mansell was educated at Horowhenua College, where he became Dux.
At the age of 16 he moved to employment in Wellington with AMP, where he became one of the youngest Fellows of the Insurance Institute. While working full-time he was also studying at Victoria University part-time, completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree and later became a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand.
In 1963 he moved to the Kapiti Coast, as a junior partner with Spackman Ballinger, Chartered Accountants. Over time this became the accounting firm known as Mansell Associates, the successful and long running accounting practice which over the years has had many of Kapiti’s top accountants working in it – several of whom have gone on to found their own successful practices.
One of the reasons he is being admitted to the Hall of Fame has its origin in his talent for bringing the resources of progress together – people, land and money – and especially through the strong positive relationships built with the Ngahina Trust. Working through the accounting business he started, or participated in, many early commercial developments, in and around the area now known as ‘Coastlands’.
Giving credit to Ray Spackman for the initial idea of a fully covered-in shopping mall in Paraparaumu, Bruce Mansell was nevertheless a key driver behind its set-up.
‘Coastlands’ opened in 1969 and was nationally recognisable as one of only two malls in New Zealand which opened on a weekend. From its earliest days it drew shoppers from all around the Wellington region and the Horowhenua. For many Wellingtonians, it put Kapiti on the map.
Taking over the controlling interest in 1984 with Ray’s retirement, Bruce Mansell has worked with drive and dedication to oversee major growth in Coastlands and to this day it remains a key centre for Kapiti life. Coastlands Shoppingtown has over 5 million visitors per year. Its stores have a combined turnover in excess of $275 million per year. It has 6 key tenants, 65 speciality shops, 19 office leases, a new ‘state of the art’ 4 cinema complex, and a new 250 seat food court. The 5600sq m Farmers extension opened two weeks ago.
But his influence has been more far reaching than this. Working on many boards, and often as a mentor to his clients businesses, he has been involved in many other activities including working with the respected Ballinger family in the development of the Te Roto Industrial Estate, and as a residential developer in Waikanae.
A Justice of the Peace, a long serving Rotarian and former President of the Waikanae Rotary Club, he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship, and was also a Jaycee and a Scouting Group Leader. He has been a coach and the Treasurer of the Waikanae Rugby Club, a member of the Raumati Swimming Club and is today a Director of the Horowhenua Kapiti Rugby Union – which with his help is one of the few unions in the country not losing money.
Coastlands has over the years provided a great many sponsorships into the community, including the dug-outs at the Hockey Turf, and most recently the naming rights to the Coastlands Aquatic Centre – further symbols of the huge contribution to the development of Kapiti made by Laureate Bruce Mansell
George Sue was born in Otaki in 1940. His father, Bing Sue, came to New Zealand in 1908 at the age of 18, and after working in Fiji and surviving the Napier earthquake chose to settle in the Horowhenua where he purchased a piece of land.
All of George Sue’s schooling took place in Levin - Levin Central School, East School then Horowhenua College. He felt that he wasn’t one of those students who could achieve academically - he was interested in animals and land and studied agriculture at college.
At the age of 18, George Sue travelled to Hong Kong with his older sister and parents. He did not find it easy adjusting to life in Hong Kong as it was overwhelming and the streets were so crowded, but while there he attended the Hong Kong School of Commerce as a night student and the Hong Kong University as a law student and worked during the day as a Inspector of the HK RSPCA and a tour guide to limousine tours for NZ tourists at the Far East Travel Company.
Returning to New Zealand when he was 22, he was invited to join his brother in his Market Gardening business. He married Shirley from Auckland and together they started their own vegetable growing company in 1967, raised four children, Liane, Vincent, Bronwyn and Warrick all of whom have attended Fairfield School and Waiopehu College.
George Sue has an extensive background in business and community organisations, including Inaugural President of the Horowhenua Growers' Association for 15 years, a member of the Horowhenua Kapiti Business Development Board for 13 years, including 4 years as Chairman, and Chairman of the JP's Association. He has been involved with Rotary, Jaycees, the Kindergarten Association, Waiopehu College Board of Governors, Horowhenua Advisory Council on Transitional Education and the Horowhenua Children's Board which was concerned with young offenders.
In 1992 George Sue set up a company called Gold Coast Marketing Ltd to co-ordinate and pack tomatoes, capsicum and cucumbers in the Kapiti Horowhenua region and collectively market them throughout New Zealand under one brand – thereby giving a much larger marketing force.
In 1995 he led a trade mission of 18 growers from the Horowhenua to Hong Kong hosted by the Director of Agriculture of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong federation of Vegetable Marketing Co-operative Society Ltd.
He chaired the Inaugural Business Development Quality Awards on 10th April 1993 and in the following years until Business Kapiti Horowhenua was formed in 1996 to carry on the awards and were renamed as the Electra Awards.
Today George Sue has retired from his market gardening business. The produce was marketed by wholesalers in Christchurch and in the north Island. George and Shirley also own a herbal business called ‘Four Seasons’. With three managers and 200 independent distributors in the North Island.
The other members of the Kapiti Horowhenua Business Hall of Fame are: Collis Blake, Bill Crighton, Barry Hadfield, Roger Halliwell, Selwyn Hide, John (Jack) Leslie, Ray McKimm, David Pritchard, Jake Slykhuis, and John Turk.