Sir Michael HILL
Most know international jewellery magnate Sir Michael Hill for his eponymous brand, which boasts stores across three continents and reports a healthy revenue in a time of dwindling bricks-and-mortar sales. Yet behind the savvy businessman lies an earthy Kiwi fuelled by a passion for philanthropic art. In 2000 he founded the biennial Michael Hill International Violin Competition, helping catapult the careers of prodigious global talent onto the world stage. Then, after transforming his family home into a world-beating golf course, Sir Michael opened The Hills in 2007 which played host to the New Zealand Open several years running. Today, the sprawling grounds are home to a stunning collection of artworks including The Wolves Are Coming by Chinese sculptor Liu Ruowang, featuring 110 life-size iron castings of wolves, and Seated Man, a 3.6-meter-tall sculpture by British artist Sean Henry. In 2011, he was even knighted with the New Zealand Order of Merit for his contributions to the world of art and business.