It all began back in 1898 when at the age of sixteen
Daniel Vickery (Dan) Bryant had a vision
“I felt that someday there would be a special work for me, and whilst the vision was not clear, it was connected with the poorer people and with child welfare”.
Despite being what Trust historian Rosalind McClean describes as “a provincial man of limited education and humble origins”, who started with nothing Dan Bryant went onto become a successful farmer, stockman and entrepreneur.
In 1921 at the age of thirty nine Dan was able and ready to enact his earlier vision. He announced his intention to give half his wealth and most of his energy to the establishment and maintenance of a children’s convalescent home in Raglan.
Dan’s life-long love of Raglan stemmed from a three month sojourn he’d had there as a teenager. He was sent to be by the sea in an attempt to improve his “weak lungs”. This and subsequent visits to Whaingaroa had a positive impact on his health and wellbeing.
Dan Bryant’s energy and application also led to the formation of the Waikato Land Settlement Society, setting unemployed men up on farms during the depression years of the 1930s. He was also involved in the Hamilton Patriotic Committee; the Rehabilitation Civic League; the ‘Waikato Campaign’ to resettle returned servicemen onto the land and the Bryant Farm Cadet Association.
Dan established the Mary Bryant Trust in 1948 in memory of his wife and ran a residential nursery in Thackeray Street for babies and toddlers whose mothers needed a break. The nursery closed in 1974.
Dan Bryant was awarded the CMG in 1936. He died in 1962 aged 80 years, leaving behind a very impressive legacy. Up until the mid-1980’s, the DV Bryant Trust was the major Waikato based charitable foundation ensuring that there was “hardly any community organisation in the Hamilton that hadn’t benefited from Bryant money”. Since then grants have spread throughout the Waikato.