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Woolf Fisher

Woolf Fisher
Born May 20, 1912
Wellington, New Zealand
Died January 12, 1975
Rotorua, New Zealand
Education Mount Albert Grammar School
Occupation Businessman, Racehorse owner/breeder, Philanthropist
Board member of Fisher & Paykel, New Zealand Steel Ltd., Auckland Racing Club, New Zealand Insurance Co.
Spouse(s) Joyce Paykel
Parents Michael Fisher &
Fanny Dabcheck

Sir Woolf Fisher (May 20, 1912 - January 12, 1975) was an East Tamaki, New Zealand, businessman and philanthropist who co-founded Fisher & Paykel, a major appliance manufacturing company, and the Ra Ora Stud, an important Thoroughbred racehorse breeding operation.

Born in Wellington, his family moved to Auckland where he studied at Mount Albert Grammar School. A salesman turned businessman, Fisher was involved in a number of successful New Zealand enterprises. He served as the first chairman of New Zealand Steel Ltd.

In 1960, he established the Woolf Fisher Trust to provide funding that maintained the salaries of post-primary schoolteachers and principals while sending them overseas to further their education. Fisher also supported the Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand and in 1961 became its first president.

Fisher was knighted in 1964 for his contribution to New Zealand's economy and for his philanthropic works. He died in 1975 while at his vacation home on the lake at Rotorua. Following its formation, in 1994 Woolf Fisher was inducted in the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.[1]

Thoroughbred racing

A polo enthusiast who was responsible for the revival of the Auckland Polo Club in 1955, Sir Woolf became a major figure in the sport of Thoroughbred racing. In 1950 he established Ra Ora Stud at Mount Wellington whose success led to new facilities being constructed in 1962 on 71.6 hectares at East Tamaki, just out of Auckland. The breeding farm stood important stallions such as Soviet Star, Nassipour, Desert Sun, and Marju, among others. Ra Ora Stud continued in operation after Fisher's death in 1975. Run by a Board of Trustees for his estate [2], it closed in 2001 and its bloodstock sold at auction.[3] [4]

Sir Woolf served on the Board of Directors of the Auckland Racing Club for 17 years, with two years as its president.


  • Mackie, William. A Noble Breed: Auckland Racing Club 1874-1974, pages 49, 249, 299 (1974) (AWMM NZ Coll, SF 335).


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