Our man in the UK

20 March 2014
Eric Tracey
Eric Tracey

Back on Waiheke Island for his “shot of New Zealand”, Kiwi ex-pat and Business School alumnus and donor Eric Tracey was reflecting on his new accolade as the UK New Zealander of the Year 2014. The award was made at the New Zealand Society’s Waitangi Day Charity Ball held in London in February.

The award recognises the outstanding contribution a New Zealand or British national has made in promoting the interests of New Zealand or New Zealanders in the United Kingdom.

Eric was honoured for presenting a positive image of New Zealand in the United Kingdom. He was nominated for his many contributions to New Zealand trade, business, sporting and fundraising causes.

“I am both hugely honoured and very humbled by this award,” said Eric. “I am but one of many people who have worked together on a variety of good causes and this award reflects their efforts as much as mine. I am delighted to join an impressive list of past winners.” 

After leaving New Zealand for England in 1973, Eric thought he’d be “back home” in a couple of years. However, he and his wife Patricia have now spent about 40 years in the UK and Eric has built up a rack of accomplishments over that time. He spent 25 years with Deloitte in London as a partner overseeing some of the firm’s largest A&Q activities. But then he began a second career as a financial trouble-shooter who joins companies to help achieve specific shareholder value-driven objectives. He also helped establish the UK branch of the New Zealand Society of Accountants and chaired the NZTE UK Beachheads Advisory Board which provided an opportunity to give back to his “mother-land”.

“I realised that New Zealanders were not maximising the general affection that huge chunks of British society have for Kiwis. Despite the challenges of entering a new market, we have certain advantages over virtually any other country just by being a Kiwi. Another advantage is the trust in the New Zealand legal and business environment,” said Eric.

“But there are differences and it really pays to work with a Brit to make sure you are sensitive to what the British situation is. I really enjoy helping New Zealand businesses connect successfully with a British counterpart to develop new opportunities. It is a real joy.

“Not too many days go by without my reflecting on how much I owe the University of Auckland for what it gave me in my time there,” said Eric. “It is an honour and privilege to be able to play a role now in helping raise funds in the UK for the University.”

Today, Eric is Chair of the UK Friends of the University of Auckland and acting chair of the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal UK, as well as having a number of board and charity appointments in the UK. He has also been a contributing columnist for Financial Director Magazine.