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Wealthmakers’ 22 chapters outline the history of business in New Zealand in a readable, storytelling style.

The underlying theme of the book is the activity of the employers and manufacturers associations that formed– like they did in all countries – to influence the political environment in which they operated, as well as to support each other socially.

Manufacturers in the upper North Island of New Zealand gathered 124 years before the book was written, and employers did the same 109 years beforehand.

In the 1950s nearly all New Zealand’s overseas earnings from manufactured exports came from newsprint, especially that made by from Tasman Pulp and Paper Company, and nearly all of that earning came from Australia.

The two groupings joined forces in 1996 to form the EMA. At that point, the mission was clarified as: We are a membership organisation that promotes the success of business by seeking to create the most desirable environment for business, and adding value through representation, knowledge and support.

Wealthmakers chronicles the events that helped create this reinvigorated focus on the growth of business, in particular by profiling the associations’ larger than life leaders as they took action they deemed important to manage the challenges of their day – and in many cases, challenges that are generic to business in any era.

But the book is about more than a bunch of meetings of company bosses! The pages are also full of anecdotes and decisions of politicians and other influencers. It’s a veritable business whodunit.

A little-know company named Fisher & Paykel established in 1934 started importing whiteware but the Sterling crisis took it to the brink of collapse…

Woolf Fisher, a former confectionary salesman, has originally put in £40 plus a loan of £210 raised against his prized De Soto car…