Professor Athol Wilson Mann CMG: 18 August 1931-14 November 2017.

AuthorMcGibbon, Ian

The New Zealand Institute of International Affairs lost one of its stalwart supporters in November with the sudden passing of Athol Mann. He was a man of huge accomplishment in many fields. Many will miss his down to earth manner, wisdom and good humour.

Born in Masterton, Athol was educated at St Andrew's College in Christchurch. He went on to attend the University of Canterbury. Although he hankered for the arts, and had a lifelong interest in history, his father persuaded him that a more practical approach was needed in choosing his academic path. He graduated with a bachelor of commerce degree in 1952. In the following year he married Ngaire Densem and they would have four children.

Athol had a truly meteoric rise in the accountancy profession, becoming a partner in the Christchurch chartered accountancy firm Burtt McGillivray, which in due course would become part of Peat Marwick, in the same year that he graduated. His 35-year career with the firm, which after a merger in 1987 became KPMG, was capped in 1986-87 by his appointment as executive vice chairman of Peat Marwick International, during which he resided in New York.

Athol was a member of the council of the New Zealand Society of Accountants from 1968 to 1979, chairing it in the final two years. In 1972 he became the first New Zealander to sit on the council of the International Federation of Accountants, a position he held till 1982, serving his last two years as vice-president. He was made a life member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand in 1991.

Athol had a number of business roles. He was a director of Pharmaco Ltd, and served as a member of the New Zealand Securities Commission for seven years from 1979. Athol made a major contribution in the medical funding field. He was a member of the Medical Research Council, the Health Sponsorship Council (from 1990), the Medical Research Distribution Committee 1975-85 and the Christchurch Medical School Council 1972-82 (chair 1979-80). In Wellington he continued this medical association, joining the board of Research for Life, the Wellington Medical Research Foundation, in 1988; he was president in 1996-98 and was made a life member in March 2017.

In 1987 Athol entered academia. He came back from New York to become professor and dean of commerce and administration at Victoria University of Wellington, a position he held for ten years...

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