Date posted: 08/09/2023

Three generations of CAs celebrate a 75-year milestone for Sir George

Members from around Wellington recently gathered to celebrate membership milestones of 40, 50, 60, 70 and an amazing 75 years.

In brief

  • 23 members celebrated tenure milestones at a recent ceremony in Wellington.
  • The oldest was Sir George Chapman, celebrating 75 years of membership.
  • Sir George was joined by his son and grandson, also chartered accountants.

Members from around Wellington gathered at Chartered Accountants House in July to celebrate membership milestones of 40, 50, 60, 70 and an amazing 75 years, with the latter for Sir George Chapman FCA, who presided over a remarkable period in New Zealand’s political history.  

Notably, Sir George was supported at the ceremony by two more generations of CAs in his family, his son Paul Chapman CA, and grandson Duncan Stuart CA. 

With President Murray Harrington FCA visiting members in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, Vice-President Tinashe Kamangira FCA joined the large group to celebrate their longevity in the profession, and he put some perspective on the years that have passed during their tenures. 

“Fifty years ago in 1973, our milestone recipients would have been cautiously watching the OPEC energy crisis, or celebrating the end of the Vietnam War,” he said. 

“Seventy years ago, in 1953, there were some particularly notable events that Kenneth Bolton, and George Shirtcliffe will no doubt remember - namely Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay becoming the first people to reach the summit of Everest and Elizabeth the second being crowned.” 

“And 75 years ago, in 1948, when Sir George became a member of the then Society of Accountants, New Zealand’s population was just 1.8 million people, Sir Peter Blake and Billy T. James were just entering this world, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations.” 

“Of course, it’s been over 20 years since Australia won the Bledisloe Cup, which is far too long,” joked the Western Australian based Vice-President. 

“These members, across their various areas of expertise, illustrate the breadth of the work that our members undertake in business and in their communities. They have been at the heart of our communities, business and otherwise, for many decades.” 

All the milestone members from the day in Wellington

All the milestone members from the day

As each member rose to accept their award, the reflections and anecdotes flowed thick and fast. 

Forty-year milestone recipient Philip Major FCA traced his personal and professional journey from the local freezing works, to university, to his first day as branch accountant for Jas J Niven & co, which he described as “the most nervous day of my life.” 

Taking a year out to get his CA qualification, he then worked in the fishing industry and various government departments, and rose through the ranks, going on to sit on international boards.

“Every time when a position came up and I applied, there were always going to be a number of people that are equally qualified, I’m told. So, they say, ‘What about this guy Major? What’s he got that nobody else has got?’ It would always come up that he’s a Chartered Accountant.”

“It gave me a lot of success. More latterly I started my own audit practice, and it led me to take a much greater interest in the affairs of CA ANZ and I found my interest wasn’t regarded as just interest, it was regarded as service and it was rewarded with fellowship which surprised me, and an honorary status, and appointment on CA ANZ ‘s Trans-Tasman committee  for charities and not for profits.” 

“So truly being a member of this organisation and being recognised like this is a great privilege.” 

Gerard McKee CA, also celebrating a 40 year milestone, shared a brief history of CA ANZ over the years, from when it was known as the New Zealand Society of Accountants (pre-1996) under notable secretary Ross McDonald, to the merger between the Australian and New Zealand institutes in 2015. 

“I don’t mind telling you that when the proposal was mooted to join with the Australians, there was a fair body of opposition, myself included. I thought we would lose something of our own identity and so I was opposed. I guess time has been the true teller of the story and today we see a very strong and successful organisation.”

One member that would remember all of this and much more was the 75 Year milestone recipient, Sir George Chapman FCA. He was supported at the event by his son, Paul Chapman CA, and grandson, Duncan Stuart CA. 

Born in Upper Hutt, Sir George has a well-chronicled career, starting with a busy year in 1948 when he became the borough treasurer of Upper Hutt, a partner in the accountancy firm which later became Chapman Upchurch, and joined the National Party – all at age 20. He went on to be deputy mayor of Upper Hutt and chairman of the Young Nationals not long after, and then notably, was elected president of the National Party in 1973. His presidency covered the 1969, 1972, 1975 and 1978 elections, and notably the period with Sir Robert Muldoon as party leader. 

He was made an FCA in 1969, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, and in 1982 he was appointed a Knight Bachelor, for political and public services. 

Sir George shared his thoughts on his life and times, and the foundation that chartered accounting gave him, across a rich and diverse career. 

“It is a great pleasure to be here today and be joined by my son, and grandson, so it makes for a very special occasion for me.” 

“Today I thought at 96 I better say a word or so, while I still remember what I’m doing here.” 

“I started at Victoria University and working in an accountant’s office during World War Two which seems a very long time ago.” 

Paul Chapman CA, Sir George Chapman FCA and Duncan Stuart CA

Paul Chapman CA, Sir George Chapman FCA and Duncan Stuart CA

“After I was accepted as a member of the society, I moved into information technology and that became my passion and since then I’ve not been hugely engaged in what could be called pure accounting, but I’m forever grateful for the principles and values that were embedded in those initial years of study and work in accounting and the benefit of being a member of CA ANZ.” 

“Within six months I was offered the chance to join an accounting partnership which had just started in Upper Hutt so that set the tone for my career as it were.” 

“I joined the National Party and worked up the system and became president of the party for nine years and that foundation of the chartered accountancy carried me through all those difficult and challenging experiences and led onto director appointments.” 

“At this stage, being retired for 20 years I can say what an enjoyable opportunity the chartered accountancy system has given me, what a wonderful career, and as I look back, I can enjoy it, and it has been a great pleasure to join you all today.” 

In closing, Sir George thanked the mentors and colleagues who played a significant role in shaping his progression and growth, as well as his son and grandson, noting the profession is in good hands.

William Giesbers FCA and family

William Giesbers FCA and family

40 YEAR MILESTONES

Mike Bink-horst CA 

Shirley Black CA 

Philip Dyer CA  

William Giesbers FCA  

Mahes Hettige CA  

John Hoff-eins CA  

Louise Hunter CA  

Tony Le Pet-it CA  

Jimmy Luey CA  

Philip Major FCA  

Gerard McKee CA  

David Parsons CA  

Greg Schollum FCA  

Brett Warwick CA   

50 YEAR MILESTONES  

Rhys Barlow FCA   

Gray Hughson CA  

Charles Purcell CA  

Euan Wright FCA  

60 YEAR MILESTONES  

Peter George CA  

Douglas Langford FACA  

70 YEAR MILESTONES

Ralph Bolton CA  

Peter Shirtcliffe FACA 

75 YEAR MILESTONE

Sir George Chapman FCA 

 

Ralph Bolton CA

Ralph Bolton CA addresses the ceremony, threatening to read his full set of notes. 

Peter Shirtcliffe FACA receives his milestone certificate from CA ANZ Vice-President Tinashe Kamangira FCA

Peter Shirtcliffe FACA receives his milestone certificate from CA ANZ Vice-President Tinashe Kamangira FCA

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