Maurice Paykel

Maurice Paykel.

Woolf Fisher and Maurice

Woolf Fisher and Maurice.


Maurice Paykel.

Maurice Paykel was born in Auckland, 1916. His family, having fled Russia in the late nineteenth century, arrived in New Zealand in 1889. Paykel's father, Albert, established an export business dealing in Kauri gum and animal hides. By 1920, his sons, George and Horace, had set up their own mercantile firm, Paykel Brothers, importing a range of industrial products including oils, thermostats, and conveyor belts. When Maurice completed his high school education in 1932, though he had his heart set on a career farming, he duly entered the firm as an assistant, packaging oils and delivering orders.

In 1934, with salesman and friend, Woolf Fisher, he established Fisher and Paykel. Though he was not as outgoing as his partner, Maurice Paykel was an equally keen salesman. At times, the pair would engage in competitive rivalry to see who could outsell the other. In the firm, Paykel put his energies into the administrative side of the business, ensuring that whatever deals his partner did, the company delivered on. In 1975, after the death of Woolf Fisher, Maurice Paykel assumed the leadership of the firm. He became chairman in 1979 and until his death in 2002 was consistently involved in the leadership and direction of the firm, as it expanded increasingly into overseas markets.

Woolf Fisher.

Woolf Fisher was born in Wellington on 20 May 1912. Like the Paykels, the Fisher family had also fled the rising tide of anti Semitism in Russia in the late nineteenth century, arriving in New Zealand in 1900. The family moved to Auckland in 1923 where Woolf continued his education until leaving school the age of 17 to become a travelling salesman. Initially, Fisher sold confectionary on commission as well as acting as an agent for Paykel Brothers, an importing firm. Fisher offered to sell a surplus of refrigerators unwanted by the parents of his close friend, Maurice Paykel. Fisher realised there was a future in importing refrigerators following the pair's first sale in Whangarei. With his companion, Maurice Paykel, and other family members they formed the company of Fisher & Paykel in January 1934.

Fisher's business acumen did not go unnoticed and in 1959 was chosen by the government to head a trade mission to Australia. Six years later in 1964 Fisher received a knighthood for his contribution to industry and philanthropy. During his life, Fisher was a prominent racehorse owner and breeder and revived the Auckland Polo Club in 1955. Woolf Fisher retired in 1974, and he died the following year on 12 January 1975, in Rotorua.

Gary Paykel

Gary Paykel.

Royal Visit

A royal visit to the Fisher & Paykel factory.

© The University of Auckland Business School