One of New Zealand's wealthiest men and leading sporting administrators, Sir Eion Edgar, has passed away today aged 76.
The Queenstown-based Edgar had made a significant impact on New Zealand, and particularly Otago sport for decades, having been a former trustee of the Halberg Disability Foundation and president of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, and the former chairman of the New Zealand Winter Games.
He also played a critical role in the development and funding of Forsyth Barr Stadium and the Edgar Sports Centre in Dunedin – the largest single-building indoor sports arena in the Southern Hemisphere.
Edgar died of pancreatic cancer, which he had been fighting since the end of last year.
Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson today expressed his sorrow at the passing of Edgar.
“Sir Eion’s energy, drive and generosity has been truly immense. He leaves a tremendous legacy and on behalf of all New Zealanders, I would like to extend my thanks for everything he has done and how this has benefited people and communities.
“At a personal level I want to acknowledge Sir Eion for his unfailing generosity of spirit. As he would often remind people we were both Otago University graduates and share our love for the region.
"Even as a young student president nearly 30 years ago I appreciated working with Sir Eion. We may not have agreed on everything, but he was always respectful and encouraging – I will miss him greatly,” Robertson said.
Robertson says Edgar's work inside and outside the sporting sector was "nothing short of extraordinary".
"These projects and initiatives have left a huge imprint on sport in New Zealand."
Sir Eion earned many awards and accolades for his philanthropy, including a knighthood, NBR New Zealander of the Year 2004, Senior New Zealander of the Year in 2010 and being inducted into the Business Hall of Fame.
He was also founding benefactor and chairman of Otago University’s now internationally renowned Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre.