Arts and science patron and businessman Christopher Mace (Ngāti Porou, Te-Whānau-ā-Apānui) won the Aotearoa New Zealand Māori Business Leaders premier award for 2011, awarded in April this year. He was the first in the event’s history to be specifically honoured for visual arts and scientific endeavour.
The Auckland-based businessman, who started his career with his family construction firm at the age of 15, is – with his wife Dayle – a well-known arts patron and a longstanding supporter of both the visual arts and theatre communities.
He is also deeply involved in fisheries and marine science, having played a major part in establishing the University of Auckland’s Leigh Marine Centre and as chairman of the Crown research institute ESR, the New Zealand Antarctic Institute and the Antarctic Heritage Trust. He was appointed chairman of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) in 2009.
Made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2004 for services to Antarctica and the community, Mr Mace built up his wealth in the 1980s with property company Mace Developments, which later became part of Lion Corporation.
He has been a director of more than 50 companies.
He was the head of patrons for the NZ Venice Biennale in 2009 and with his wife is the major donor of the Walters Prize.
He is involved with the Auckland Art Gallery, the Auckland Theatre Company, the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival, the Arts Foundation and is a patron of the SCAPE Christchurch Biennial.