The Trusts are proud and delighted to congratulate their former chief executive, Murray Spearman, who was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Murray is another of those “Westies” who flies under the radar while giving a great deal to their community over many years. In his case, he has been a lifelong servant of the Order of St John, of cricket, racing and swimming as well as serving the cause of Licensing Trusts in New Zealand and helping to create the mechanisms through which, today, The Trusts Community Foundation is able to donate millions of dollars back to the West Auckland community every year.
Licensing Trusts were established in New Zealand as a means by which communities could own and control the sale of liquor in their area, in such a way that liquor was conveniently available while at the same time being sold responsibly.
The Waitakere and Portage Licensing Trusts, collectively known as “The Trusts”, are a couple of the outstanding examples of how that system can work to the great benefit of the communities that own them, both in terms of the responsible sale of liquor and in terms of what they are able ‘give back’ to the communities.
Murray Spearman MNZM who became Waitakere Licensing Trust CEO in 1991, was a driving force in building the foundations of the highly successful ‘The Trusts’ operation that we see in West Auckland today. He took over managing commercial operations at a time when The Trusts were struggling and within two years, had put them on the road to future success.
In 1996 he created West Auckland Trust Services Ltd (WATS), a commercial organisation that manages all the bars, restaurants, liquor outlets and the Quality Hotel Lincoln Green, that the two licensing trusts own. While accountable to the two licensing trusts, WATS is a fully commercial company with its own board and runs the businesses as one operation which has strength in numbers and economies of scale.
During most of his time as Chief Executive, The Trusts were able to operate gaming machines and distribute the profits in the form of millions of dollars in grants each year to West Auckland organisations. These ranged from schools to sports clubs, theatres and theatre companies, arts and cultural organisations, social service organisations, the emergency services and everything in between. It was at this time that The Trusts began giving life saving gifts such as smoke alarms and first extinguishers to every home in West Auckland.
With a change in the gambling laws, the operation of gaming machines had to be handed over to Class 4 Gaming Societies, such as The Trusts Community Foundation (TTCF). Although a separate organisation, independent of The Trusts, TTCF operates its machines in The Trusts premises and continues the tradition of distributing millions back to the West Auckland communities every year. It makes the grants having consulted The Trusts elected members for their recommendations in respect of the applications for funding it receives.
A lifelong servant of the order of St John, Murray is now a Commander of the Order. He was elected chairman of the West Auckland Area Committee in 1999 and is an active member of the St John Northern Regional Trust Board.
During his time with St John, Murray has been a prolific fundraiser whose efforts supported the creation of a New Lynn Training Centre, an upgrade for the Te Atatu Ambulance Station, an ambulance station in Fred Taylor Drive, Whenuapai, and Health Shuttle transport to hospitals.
A life member of the Waitakere Cricket Club, he was the club chairman in the early 1990s and was also a member of the Auckland Cricket Association and member of its finance sub-committee. While he was a cricket administrator, he had the pleasure of seeing his son, Craig Spearman, become an opening batsman for the New Zealand Black Caps and represent his country in 19 test matches and 51 one day internationals.
Murray Spearman has also served the Waitakere Swimming Club and Avondale Racing Club for which he was a steward and committee member. In 2008 he received a Waitakere Business Award and in 2011 he was made a life member of the New Zealand Licensing Trusts Association.