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90th Birthday Celebration

History table mats used at our 90th celebration

Bryant Home

Bryant Home is the purpose build facility built by the Founder, Dan Bryant on the lower slopes of Karioi Maunga at Raglan to accommodate short stay convalescent children. It enjoys a commanding view of the Whaingaroa (Raglan) bar and north up the west coast.

The published history of the Trust records that the first in-take of convalescent children arrived at Bryant Home in December 1924, 90 years ago.

The Trust ran the home for various purposes (including convalescing soldiers, women and Waikato Hospital convalescing patients) up until 1966. The Trust then disposed of the Home to the Children’s Bible Crusade, now Children’s Bible Ministries, which still own it and run it for a purpose much like its original designed purpose – a children’s activity camp.

Bryant Hall

Bryant Hall was founded by the D V Bryant Trust in 1965 with the Hall opening on the campus of the University of Waikato in 1971.

The Hall with its 3 residential blocks, its own dining hall and a separate recreational facility accommodates some 200 students attending the university.

The Hall was administered by a separate Bryant Hall Trust board comprising Trustees appointed by both the D V Bryant Trust and the University.

In 2004, the Hall was transferred back to the University in exchange for the University setting up in perpetuity the Bryant Scholarships which are administered by the University but in which the Trust is the primary decision makers. The principal purpose of the scholarships is to fund on to the University campus first year students who for domestic or serious financial reasons could not otherwise contemplate tertiary education.

Ashley Taylor

A Trio of Chairmen, Doug Arcus, Vic Bryant and Ashley Taylor

Ashley Taylor was associated with the Founder and all of the Bryant Trusts for over 50 years.

When the Bryant House Trust Board was reconstituted into the D V Bryant Trust Board in 1960, Ashley became both a Trustee and Secretary to the new Board. He held the position of Secretary for some 39 years, retiring to take up the position of Chairman in 1999.

Ashley served as Chairman of this Board, from 1999 to 2005.

Ashley was also Trustee of the Bryant Hall Trust Board for the entire period of its existence and secretary of that Board for most of that period.

In addition Ashley was a trustee of the Mary Bryant Trust while it continued. Ashley’s contribution to the various Bryant Boards has been fully recorded in detail in the book published by the Board “A Stockman’s Gift. Daniel Vickery Bryant and the Bryant Charitable Trusts. A legacy for Waikato”.

Mary Bryant Nursery

Mary Bryant Nursery was a facility located in Thackeray St Hamilton established in 1948 by the Founder, Dan Bryant but in honour of his wife Mary. It was designed to accommodate infants from 2 months old to 2 years old whose mothers were not coping for whatever reason – we now think principally post natal depression.

The Mary Bryant Nursery was administered by a separate Trust Board which included all of the children of the Founder, Yvonne Haswell, Cecil Bryant, Clarice Arcus, and Lucy Gilbert. The monthly meetings of that Trust were generally preceded by many cups of tea as the three sisters in particular caught up with the family gossip!

The Chairman of the Mary Bryant Trust for its entire 26 year history was the Rev Duncan Cattanach, the minister of St Andrews Church.

The Nursery building was disposed of to the Salvation Army which still uses the premises for their Drug & Alcohol Services.

Bryant Village

With extra capital flowing into the Trust with the subdivision of the Trust’s Te Rapa land during the 1960s, the Trust decided to make contributions to both the youth and the elderly. Youth benefited from Bryant Hall at the University of Waikato and to assist the elderly, the Trust established Bryant Village on a block of its own land in Delamare Road overlooking the St Andrews Golf Course. (Delamare Road was named after Freddie de la Mare, solicitor and a trustee on the Bryant House Trust Board for 10 years).

The village comprised 32 one bedroom units together with an activities and meeting hall and a residence for the manager. The project was philanthropic in the sense that resident entry was means tested and the rental was fixed to the NZ National Superannuation.

As with a number of other service provision facilities operated by the Trust, compliance costs made it increasingly difficult to sustain the Village. The Village was discontinued in 1999. Part was disposed of to Presbyterian Support which established there an aged care day care centre (the Enliven Centre). The balance of the land was sold to BUPA for a retirement village.

Bryant Education Centre

With the encouragement of respected physician Dr. D.J. (Jack) Gudex who served as a Trustee from 1971–1994, the DV Bryant Trust supported a number of initiatives around medical research.

The Trust supported the Waikato Postgraduate Medical Society in the early 1970s to bring off-shore researchers to Waikato Hospital, in the mid-late 1970s to offer short-term study grants through the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and in the late 1980s to help establish the Waikato Medical Research Foundation.

In December 1993 the Bryant Education Centre at Waikato Hospital was opened following a grant of $600,000.00 from the Trust towards the $2 million project. With then state-of-the-art technology, the Centre provides vital support to post-graduate professional and clinical education in the region.

The Land Settlement Table

The Waikato Land Settlement Society was the brain child of Founder Dan Bryant and led him to national prominence. He was deeply concerned about the 100,000 men who found themselves without paid work during the Great Depression of the early 1930's. His solution was to buy up derelict farms or undeveloped land, settle unemployed men on it who would then clear and develop it. Later they and their families were able to buy their own 50 acre farms.

By 1934 thanks to the Founder's lobbying, about 1,000 donors had given over 27,000 pounds thus ensuring 7,600 acres of land was purchased in total.

Kairangi on the north-western slopes of Maungatautari was the first of the four schemes, then followed Karakariki north-west of Whatawhata and Wharepapa south-east of Te Awamutu. More than 100 men were employed on the Society's lands during the Depression and about 30 families had purchased their own farms by 1938.

In 1936 the Government introduced the 'Bryant Tenure', a restricted form of freehold that meant land could only be sold with the approval of the Society at its productive value + improvements - depreciation. It remained on the statute books until 1955.

In July 1944 Dan purchased 2,530 acres at Paerangi, north-west of Ngaruawahia for the resettlement of five returned servicemen from World War Two.


The Founder, Dan Bryant had 15 grandchildren all of whom addressed him affectionately as “Pop”.

When the grandchildren were younger, Pop entertained them with magic and silly songs (the likes of which may be provided by the Arcus & Gilbert girls!).

In their teenage years some of the grandchildren were invited to drive Pop to stock sales and the like (Pop himself was the most appalling driver, a matter of great concern to his family in his later years)

Waikato University

The University of Waikato was established primarily on the initiative of Waikato people led primarily by the brothers Doctors Rufus and Dennis Rogers. While the D V Bryant Trust was not involved to any great extent in that initiative, it certainly responded when the University sought to make the Waikato University a residential university. The Trust then provided Bryant Hall on the Campus to accommodate 200 students.

As a result of that co-operative venture, the relationship between the Trust and the University grew closer and the Trust went on to assist the University by:

  • Underwriting the initial staff costs for the School of Science;
  • Establishing the Centre for Maori Studies and Research;
  • Contributing to the Academy of Performing Arts; and
  • Contributing to the Don Llewellyn Pavilion.

The Trust continues to be associated with the University with its involvement with the Bryant Scholarships.

Midland Hotel

During World War II, the Midland Hotel (a two storied hotel which stood on a site on the corner of Anglesea and Hood Streets) was requisitioned for Air Force purposes.  At the end of the war, the building became vacant. The Founder, Dan Bryant had formed the Rehabilitation Civic League to assist returned servicemen secure a roof over their head. There was an acute shortage of accommodation.

Accompanied by an invited Waikato Times reporter and followed by a returned soldier, his wife and a young child, Dan Bryant made a forced entry into the empty Midland Hotel, set up the soldier and his family inside and then sent a telegram to the then Prime Minister, Walter Nash telling him what he had done! Apparently this action set something of a precedent for similar take-overs of empty war buildings by high profile individuals in other parts of the country!

Vickery House

Vickery House is the name of one of the commercial office buildings owned by the Trust on the corner of Alexandra and Collingwood Streets.

Vickery is a family name carried down through the family stemming from the maiden name of the bride of Thomas Bryant in the mid 1800’s in Clayhanger, Devon, England. One of their sons was named John Vickery Bryant, the Founder’s father. The Founder, Daniel Vickery then carried the name as did one of his grandsons, a former chair of the Board Vickery Bryant (son of Cecil Bryant), and one of the Founder’s great grandsons Vickery Arcus now Chair Elect of the Board.

The Trust currently has plans to demolish Vickery House and use that and adjacent sites to build a 5 story office block and pocket park which will be called Vickery Precinct.

Cecil Bryant

Cecil Daniel Bryant was the second child and only son of the Founder Dan Bryant. Cecil was a Trustee of the original Bryant House Trust Board from 1931 (when he would have been only 26 years old!) until that Trust was wound up in 1962. He was then a Trustee of the newly formed D V Bryant Trust from its inception in 1960 until his death in 1972. In all, he served the Bryant Trusts for 41 years.

A very practical man, he assisted in supervising the Trust’s farming operations and then a number of the Trust’s other service provision facilities.

He took a particular interest in the Bryant Retreat for Women at Raglan and the Bryant Village in Delamare Road in Hamilton.

Two of Cecil’s sons, John and Vickery both served on the DV Bryant Trust Board (and John on the Mary Bryant Trust as well). Vic was the Trust’s Chairman for 10 years. Cecil’s grand-daughter, Jennie Bryant-Fisher (Vic Bryant’s daughter) is a current Trustee.

Grassy Downs

The Founder, Dan Bryant was a farmer. His own beef and sheep farm at Tahuroa Road Tawhare (East of Hamilton) was named Grassy Downs.

Next door was his son Cecil Bryant’s farm “Mania-roa” and next up the road was “Kai-iwi” owned by two of the Founder’ daughters Yvonne Haswell and Clarrie Arcus.

Grassy Downs was sold to Ray & Elsa Woodcock who were already well known to the Founder as they had assisted him in setting up the farm cadet scheme in 1953. The farm is now owned by Ray & Elsa’s son Neville Woodcock.