The legacy of a true leader

Colin Harvey was a highly valued member of the Massey whānauA valued former member of the Massey University Council and Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, Colin Harvey, has passed away in a water-related incident in Northland. 

Colin was a ministerial appointee to Massey University Council in 2013 and served three terms before retiring from Council in December 2021. He also sat on Massey’s Finance and Assurance Committee and People and Culture Committee. 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says Colin was a highly valued member of the Massey whānau and our sincere condolences go to Mary and all of Colin’s family and friends. 

“Colin was an active member of the Massey University Council, a proud member of our alumni whānau, and played a critical role in the establishment of the Massey University Foundation. 

“He came from a Taranaki dairy farm to study at Massey, completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in 1968. Typical of Massey graduates, he epitomised that roll-up-your-sleeves kind of mentality and was a successful businessman with huge impact and legacy in the New Zealand agricultural sector. 

“Colin was a thoroughly decent human being and incredible New Zealander who will be dearly missed.” 

He will be remembered for making a major contribution to the New Zealand agricultural industry. In recent years, he chaired the growth of several significant new companies. This included Hobbiton Scenic attraction, and biotech start-ups Mastaplex, Certusbio, and Orbis. As well as his qualification from Massey, he also earned a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland in 1980. 

Colin built the animal health company Ancare in 1985. It had a significant market share across several animal health categories in the face of strong competition. The trading assets of Ancare were sold to Merial in 2007 and in 2014, Merial acquired the remaining research and development assets of Ancare, which Colin operated as a separate development company.​​​​​​​ 

His contributions to agriculture and animal welfare were recognised when he was made an Officer of New Zealand Order of Merit and in 2009, a member of the North Shore Enterprise Hall of Fame. 

In a statement provided to the NZ Herald, his family said Colin passed away in his favourite place doing what he loved the most – body surfing at Langs Beach in Northland. 

"He loved Langs Beach and has had a house here for 30 years and enjoyed fishing, diving and swimming. He was an incredible husband, father and grandfather, and his death has left an enormous hole in our family.” 

Professor Ray Geor, Pro Vice-Chancellor College of Sciences, acknowledges the profound loss of Colin. “The Massey University community was deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Colin Harvey. As a proud Massey alumnus, Colin was deeply committed to the ongoing success of the university, as a member of Council, playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the Massey University Foundation, and as a strong advocate for advancement of the applied sciences, especially in areas dear to his heart, agriculture and veterinary science.” 

The loss will be keenly felt across the country. Ray says, “Colin leaves a massive legacy as a true leader of the New Zealand agricultural and biotechnology sectors. I will greatly miss his advice and counsel. Rest in peace, Colin.”