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Kiwi tech pioneer dies...

15 Aug 14

New Zealand tech industry stalwart, Datacom co-founder Paul Hargreaves has died following a short illness.

Hargreaves, then a young accountant, co-founded Datacom in 1965, along with the late Dr Bernard Battersby.

A group of clients put up the original capital of £30,000 for the company, then called Computer Bureau Limited. The first computer – an ICL 1902 was ordered, arriving in New Zealand a year later.

The company changed its name from CBL to Datacom in 1984, merging with CCL in 1989 and adding payroll and facilities management divisions. By 1994 the company had expanded to Australia, followed two years later by expansion into Asia.

Today Datacom is one of New Zealand’s biggest – albeit quieter – success stories, employing 3600 staff across 23 offices in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Hargreaves remained with Datacom until 1989, and remained a group director until December 2006. He joined the Hi-Tech Hall of Fame in 2010, in recognition of his decades of service in technology, science and business.

Outside of Datacom, Hargreaves was the president of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand for two years, and made a distinguished fellow in 2009, and was chief executive of Niwa from 1994 to 2002.

At the time of his retirement as a director, he had been involved with Datacom for 42 years, something Datacom described today as ‘an extraordinary achievement that would be fairly unique in New Zealand and in corporate life’.

Greg Davidson, Datacom NZ chief executive says Hargreaves was a pioneer. “He saw the opportunities presented by new and emerging technologies and seized them.

“As a leader he was quiet, astute, and will be missed by many of us who knew and worked with him over the years.

“Throughout Paul’s 42 years with Datacom, he made a significant contribution to our near 50 year history of growth here in New Zealand and across Australia and Asia.

“Our thoughts and respectful condolences are with his family.”

Hargreaves was today being remembered not just for his role in the technology sector, but also for his extensive community work, including with the Antarctic Heritage Trust, and the Laura Ferguson Trust in Christchurch.

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