Ranjna Patel enters the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame

A singular, premier honour for the Indian Community

Other inductees: Sir Ian Taylor, Todd Heller, Mark Dunajtschik, Rod Duke, Diane Foreman and Sir Glen Owenn

Ranjna Patel is the first person of Indian origin to be inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame
(Photo from the New Zealand Hall of Fame Website)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, May 12, 2024

We are happy to report that Community and Business Leader Ranjna Patel has been inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame, the first person of Indian origin to achieve this distinction.

Established by Young Enterprise, this is stated to be the most prestigious and authentic Hall of Fame for honouring people for their contributions to the socio-economic fields.

Among the 2024 Laureates are Sir Ian Taylor, Tod Heller, Mark Dunajtschik, Rod Duke, Diane Foreman and Sir Glen Owenn.

They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a gala dinner on September 11, 2024 at Cordis Hotel in Auckland City.

Ranjna Patel with the ‘Community Hero’ at the Women of Influence Awards Ceremony held on November 17, 2020 in Wellington (Photo Supplied by Ranjna Patel)

About Ranjna Patel

Ms Patel is a multifaceted personality with multiple achievements in many areas.

The Citation on her appointment to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame described Ms Patel as ‘a distinguished entrepreneur and philanthropist,’ and that ‘her leadership in healthcare and social welfare has made her a pivotal figure in fostering community wellbeing and equity.’

As well as many other awards and citations, she was the first person of Indian origin (in 2014) to decorate the Hall of Fame of ‘Co. of Women,’ an organisation of high achievers based in Auckland.

Born and raised in Auckland, Ms Patel belonged to a joint family comprising her parents, uncle and aunt who ran a fruits and vegetables shop in Herne Bay, on the Southwestern shore of the Waitemata Harbour.

From our Archives
Colleague and friend Ranjna Patel gets another prestigious Award
Ranjna Patel decorates Hall of Fame

In 1977, she established East Tamaki Healthcare with her husband Dr Kanti Patel.

It was a modest, solo GP practice in the South Auckland suburb of Otara with Ms Patel doubling as the Receptionist and Administrator while Dr Patel tended to the patients. Over the years, the practice grew to become the largest primary healthcare provider in Auckland with 50 clinics, accounting for more than 300,000 patients. For more than four decades, she held various executive roles involving medical practice development, strategic development and public relations. The company has been renamed Tamaki Health under new ownership and management.

During an interview with Indian Newslink (March 1, 2013), Dr Kanti Patel paid rich tributes to his wife saying, “She has always been a source of strength and support since we were married. Both of us share a concern for serving the community, which I believe gives us a sense of purpose in life and career.”

Ranjna Patel speaking at the Indian Newslink Annual Lecture held in Pullman Hotel Auckland on July 27, 2015 (INL Photo by Narendra Bedekar)

Gandhi Nivas: Unique in approach and Service

Ms Patel is closely associated with several voluntary and charitable projects and services but the most challenging of all has been Gandhi Nivas.

Established on December 1, 2014, Gandhi Nivas is a crisis intervention service for individuals and families affected by family Harm and Violence. It takes a different approach to assist people and families in healing and rebuilding their lives.

As a primary initiator of the Project at a meeting of the Ethnic Advisory Board of the Counties Manukau District Police in April 2014, Ms Patel believed that many intervention programmes focus on victims (who are often women and children) but not on perpetrators or offenders.

“But we do not want a band-aid solution. We want to address the fundamentals and get to the root of the problem,” she said.

Mental Health experts say that early life adversity is the biggest risk factor for mental health issues, education failure, long-term unemployment, imprisonment and addiction disorder.

It can also convert one into a violent aggressor.

The intervention strategy of Gandhi Nivas focuses on the behaviour modification of the aggressor, particularly males and wraparound support for the families involved.

A key aspect of family violence intervention is engaging offenders in their own rehabilitation. Gandhi Nivas helps men take a positive role in stopping violence against women. These are men served with a Police Safety Order (PSO) which keeps them away from their homes, and prevents another violent incident perpetrated by them.

This gives both the protected person and the person bound by the PSO, time to cool down and seek aid. The Police can charge a person who fails to comply with the provisions of the PSO and take them to a Court of Law.

Gandhi Nivas offers a range of services, including emergency shelter, crisis counselling by qualified and registered counsellors, legal advocacy, and support groups. It operates from three locations in Auckland- Otahuhu, Te Atatu and Papakura.

The Swaminarayan Complex

The late Queen Elizabeth II acknowledged Ms Patel for her contributions to the communities with a Queen’s Service Medal (along with Dr Kanti Patel) in 2009 and appointed her as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017.

Ms Patel and Dr Kanti Patel constructed the Swaminarayan Temple (ISSO) in response to the growing needs of the community in the South Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe. It was inaugurated on March 18, 2008 (Indian Newslink March 1, and April 1, 2008). A multipurpose, multimillion Dollar Community Complex with a state-of-the-art facility was added last year (2023). The facility has become an important landmark in Auckland as a venue for public festivals, events, weddings and other functions.

Ms Patel was President of the Manukau Indian Association (the first woman President) and is a member of several advisory committees, including Counties Manukau Police South East Asian Advisory Board, MIT Indian Community Advisory Group, NZ Global Women, Women’s Presidents Organisation, NZ Asian Leadership Group and many others.

The New Zealand Business Hall of Fame

Wellington-based Young Enterprise launched the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame in 1994 by Young Enterprise to honour individuals who have played a crucial role in New Zealand’s economic and social progress.

Its Enterprise’s mission is to cultivate students’ business aptitude and equip them with the skills required to be successful business leaders and entrepreneurs. This initiative also improves teachers’ capacity to inspire curious, entrepreneurial students and contribute to a more prosperous New Zealand.

During an annual black-tie gala dinner, Laureates are welcomed into the Hall, each with a unique tale of enterprise, hard work and triumph. Many of them have also been generous in their contributions to their respective communities.

Sir Ian Taylor (Photo from the New Zealand Hall of Fame Website)

Sir Ian Taylor

Sir Ian Taylor, a pioneering figure in New Zealand’s tech industry, founded Animation Research Ltd. (ARL), in 1990. Headquartered in Dunedin, it stands as a trailblazer in the realm of computer graphics and animation, having revolutionised sports broadcasting with cutting-edge graphics technology, notably enhancing the America’s Cup coverage. Knighted in 2021 for services to broadcasting, business and the community, Sir Ian’s vision expands beyond profit, with his dedication to numerous philanthropic endeavours supporting education, youth development, and environmental conservation.

Tod Heller (Photo from the New Zealand Hall of Fame Website)

Todd Heller

A fifth-generation butcher, Todd Heller opened his first butchery in New Brighton, Christchurch, in 1985. Today he is the founder of an iconic Kiwi brand, New Zealand’s leading bacon, ham and sausage producer, Heller Meats.

The company directly employs over 1000 staff, across four production plants in New Zealand and Australia. Mr Heller has funded the “Sausages for Schools” Programme, donating over two million sausages to school fundraisers, consequently helping schools raise over $4 million since 2012.

Community is a priority for him, with a recent contribution of 1200 pressed hams to city missions for Christmas.

Mark Dunajtschik (Photo from the New Zealand Hall of Fame Website)

Mark Dunajtschik

Mark Dunajtschik migrated to New Zealand as a toolmaker in 1958 to make a new life after an extraordinary plight that saw him imprisoned by Yugoslav forces in a concentration camp under Marshall Tito’s rule before escaping to Germany. He set up Precision Grinders in Wellington running a toolmaking business successfully for 28 years.

Retiring in 1987, Mr Dunajtschik took up developing and investing in property as a hobby in Central Wellington. With his hands-on formula, this became a very successful business, making him one of Wellington’s and New Zealand’s most generous philanthropists.

Rod Duke (Photo from the New Zealand Hall of Fame Website)

Rod Duke

Rod Duke has been at the forefront of retail innovation in New Zealand as the Managing Director and Deputy Chairman of Briscoe Group since purchasing 100% ownership of the company in 1990.

Today, Mr Duke owns 80% of the Group which encompasses 90 stores and directly employs around 2400 people across its two brands, Briscoes Homewares, and the Rebel Sport Chain, which he established in 1996. He is a longstanding supporter of child cancer research and support programmes with a focus on enhancing young people’s wellbeing.

Diane Foreman (Photo from the New Zealand Hall of Fame Website)

Diane Foreman

Earning international accolades, Diane Foreman has made significant contributions to healthcare, manufacturing and franchising. An entrepreneur with 35 years of success, she was recognised as New Zealand’s 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Formerly Chief Executive of Trigon Industries and founder of the Emerald Group, Ms Foreman chairs Chelsea Group, overseeing a diverse portfolio of developments. She is an accomplished author and a co-founder of International Winning Woman.

Sir Owen Glenn (Photo from the New Zealand Hall of Fame Website)

Sir Owen Glenn

Since migrating to New Zealand with his family from India in 1952, Sir Owen Glenn has distinguished himself through a variety of successful ventures spanning logistics, property development, horticulture, and investments on a global scale.

Notably, he was the Founder and Chairman of OTS Logistics Group.

In 2008, Sir Owen was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) and in 2011 he was made a CPA Australia Honorary Fellow. Knighted in 2014 for his outstanding contributions to philanthropy, Sir Owen has contributed extensively to education, the arts, healthcare, and sport.

His noteworthy contribution to the University of Auckland in 2002 stands as the largest private donation in New Zealand’s educational history.

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