Last year members of the business community were the big winners in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list while those in politics were largely missed out. Many of these winners have distinguished careers in business and have put much back into the community through acts of philanthropy or other achievement, and Michael Friedlander is no exception to this rule.
Last year Michael received the Insignia of a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community. Mr Friedlander has contributed to many local businesses and organisations in the Auckland region for more than 40 years through the Friedlander Foundation, which he established in the 1960s. He has assisted and sponsored many organisations in the fields of tertiary education and research, youth development, and the arts, as well as the Jewish community. Among the many to have benefited from his generosity are the Foundation for Youth Development, the Liggins Institute, the Business Roundtable, the Auckland Art Gallery, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and the Erman Trust. Mr Friedlander has also been involved with the New Zealand Centre for Independent Studies for 20 years and contributed significantly to the Auckland Synagogue and the Kadimah School refurbishment programme.
In addition to these prestigious personal awards for Michael Friedlander, his Samson Corporation building Ironbank on Karangahape Rd was recently recognised for design work by RTA Studio. Judging panel convenor architect Mario Madayag said it was of an international standard, and was particularly keen on its “completely 007 car park” which works on an automatic stacking system. “Ironbank is great on every level,” said Mr Madayag. “This is what New Zealand is capable of and this is what we should be doing.”
Another recent Samson Corporation first was the creation of the Geyser Building in Auckland. This office building is the area’s first building to receive six green star certifications for its environmentally sustainable design. To become sustainable, Samson designed the Geyser building with solar panels, natural light and modern airflow. The Geyser Building has 24 offices and six retail/hospitality spaces and is now fully tenanted.