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Thu 14 December 2017
FEATURE ARTICLES
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PEOPLE: GEORGE CORMACK MACRAE
George Cormack Macrae’s legacy lies in countless construction projects around the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand, from Ruahihi Power Station to the giant tanks at the port. As one of the founders of Page Macrae Engineering he was a hugely respected pioneering Tauranga businessman.

He was born in Edenvale in the South Island. When he was four years old his mother died and he was sent to live on Norfolk Island with his aunt. He returned to New Zealand when he was eight and spent the rest of his childhood at Dingwall Presbyterian Orphanage in Papatoetoe, Auckland.

At Dingwall George developed a strong work ethic which remained with him all his life. At sixteen George ventured into the world with a bible and a suitcase of clothes. He earned his apprenticeship in Auckland and then headed off to sea, working as an engineer on merchant ships traveling around Australia and New Zealand.

George met his wife to be, Elvira, at a dance whilst docked at Gisborne. The couple’s first child was later born here, with a second son born in Auckland after the young family moved there when George attained his chief’s engineering certificate. It was in Auckland that George met his future business partner Bob Page.

In the early years of the partnership, Bob Page moved to Tauranga to set up their new company while George supported both families with the earnings from his job in a freezing works in Onehunga, Auckland. In 1954 the family moved to Tauranga where their daughter was born.

George Cormack MacraeGeorge worked long hours building up Page Macrae from a local business providing marine engineer support in the Bay of Plenty, to a leader in the engineering sector which today provides services to a range of industries including power generation, petrochemical, ship repair, pulp and paper, food processing, mechanical handling and water treatment.

George retired from the company in 1992, passing the reins to his son Ian. Today the company employs 100 people. Ian Macrae said it was the company’s people not commercial successes that made his father most happy

George died peacefully at Tauranga Hospital on November 8, 2005 aged 81.

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