Tony Baldwin
Business | Policy

New Zealand United World College Trust


This project was active from 2006 to 2010. Its purpose was to explore the viability of establishing in New Zealand a United World College (UWC)


Origins and rationale

The project was started by John Hilhorst, a secondary school teacher at Queenstown. In the initial stages, Tony Baldwin assisted John as a friend in making connections and developing a business plan. However, it quickly developed into a larger undertaking involving many more people.

Among other things, a New Zealand UWC would:

  • Project New Zealand as a country to future young leaders across the globe
  • Forge invaluable relationships that extend and strengthen New Zealand’s connections to places of learning, trade, culture and friendship around the world, and
  • Establish New Zealand as an international centre of excellence in global leadership development for young people

Key steps and achievements

The project was philanthropic; however it was established and run on a disciplined and professional basis. Key steps and achievements included:

  • Establishing a robust Business Plan
  • Assembling a talented board of directors and expert advisers, with Rt Hon James Bolger as patron (further details below)
  • Raising $850,000 cash in sponsorship funding (further details below)
  • Developing an innovative Education Framework for a new generation UWC, which was reviewed by an international panel of education experts;
  • Building a detailed budget and financial model;
  • Undertaking a detailed property search, which led to a gift of a 16 hectare property near to Queenstown as possible campus site, and developing a concept and cost plan for that site with Beca Group; and
  • Preparing a draft proposal document for the next stage of the project;
  • Receiving in-kind contributions of time and expertise to the value of around $2.8 million.


Funding details for feasibility study

The feasibility study had a budget of around $850,000. We obtained this funding from four sources:

  • Major sponsors – $610,000
  • Donations, grants and interest – $120,000 (approx)
  • Professional services provided on a pro bono basis – $220,000, and
  • Contributions of expert time from our board members and expert advisers, which were substantial.


Major cash sponsors were:



Air New Zealand


Contact Energy


NZ Post


ASB Bank






Perry Foundation


Sir Roy McKenzie




Pro bono professional services were provided by:




(estimated value)

McCulloch Partners (accounting)


Chapman Tripp (legal)


Beca Group (site development)


Sweeney Vesty (communications)


Ogilvy (communications)


Kinross Partners (HR recruitment)


PriceWaterHouseCoopers (auditing)


Global Philanthropic (fundraising)


Estimated total value



We recorded pro bono contributions in a report that we called the "Recognition Report".  We reasonably estimate that the project has received pro bono contributions of time and expertise having a cash-equivalent value in the order of $2.8 million.


For each output, we strived to follow a rigorous process, and to produce a product that met high professional standards.Our performance against Business Plan targets for the Feasibility Study stage was as follows.


Target output

(in no particular order)


Fundraising plan

Preferred structure of funding, with a profile of potential prospects.Further detailedwork to follow

Consultation with stakeholders

Discussed project with extensive list of stakeholders identified in Business Plan

Review of UWC performance

Key concerns as to whether the existing UWC model would deliver our goals

Outline of academic programme

Developed leading-edge Education Framework document, which has been reviewed by a range of international experts

Outline of service programme

Set out in Education Framework document

Governance plan

Developed preferred structure. Further work required on medium-term composition

Financial model

Comprehensive financial model prepared, which has been reviewed by PWC.Cost input assumptions to be continuously updated

Site selection

Completed extensive selection process that included 70 properties across NZ.Detailed evaluation reports prepared assessing each property against key criteria.

Site acquisition

Negotiated a binding agreement for sale and purchase of an outstanding 12-16ha site on the outskirts of Queenstown

Site evaluation, including preliminary analysis of any risks relating to RMA risks,geotech,and the like

Completed by Beca Group (see below)

Concept development plan

Beca Group prepared a Master Plan for the development of the site to achieve our goals

Estimate of development cost [+/- 20%]

$51.6m (as at October 2010)

Proposal document

Prepared various draft proposal documents for the next stages of the project

Specific reports prepared as inputs to our Feasibility Study included:

  • Beca Group report
  • Financial model
  • Education Framework
  • Site Study Evaluation,
  • Fund raising options,
  • Draft proposal documents for next stages, and
  • ‘Recognition’ report.


Key conclusions

At the end of the Feasibility Study stage, we had to decide, consistent with our Business Plan, whether expected benefits were greater than expected costs, and whether risks were manageable in a cost-effective manner.Based on these criteria, the project was considered to be not viable in the medium term.The project did not proceed to the next stage.


Project directory


Founder Patron:

Rt Hon James Bolger, ONZ



Creative Founder:

John Hilhorst



Board of Trustees:

Tony Baldwin (Chair)


Craig Stobo (Deputy Chair)


Stuart Chrisp

Alison Gerry


John Hilhorst


Suzanne Janissen


Sam Knowles


Carolyn Kirkpatrick


Grant McCulloch




Anna Winn


Gillian Heald


Rupert Wilson



Professional partners:

McCulloch & Partners (Accounting)


SweeneyVesty (Communications)


Chapman Tripp (Law)


Beca International (Property design)


PricewaterhouseCoopers (Auditing)


Denham Martin (Tax)



Major benefactor:

Donor of a 16 ha property near to Queenstown



Key seed funders:

Telecom New Zealand


ASB Bank


NZ Post


Contact Energy


Air New Zealand


Perry Foundation


Fonterra Cooperative Group


Sir Roy MacKenzie




NZ Companies Office – Certificate Number 1898203


NZ Charities Commission – CC10493


NZ Inland Revenue Department – IRD number 96-162-121





















Return to top