Hon Philip and Ros Burdon recently attended formal dining. Philip is well known in Christchurch and especially recently for his passion about restoring Christ Church Cathedral.

He and Ros are also behind some fundraising campaigns for two churches in Geraldine. They have many other interests. Ros is a dedicated arts supporter and they are both well known as patrons of the arts and education, and generous benefactors to many causes.

However Philip is well known here at CH for quite a different reason. Philip was a member of the College House Board from 1979 to 1984 and very supportive of women being admitted to College House (they have three daughters!). His brother and two nephews attended CH.

College House was established in 1850 for male students only. As an MP, Philip had the foresight to realise that the most expedient way to alter all the old trusts specifically intended for the education of young men, was to pass an Act of Parliament. Due to his influence, energy and efforts the College House Act 1985 was passed and women were admitted to College House in 1990.

Philip owns Meadow Mushrooms which is one of New Zealand's largest and most sophisticated agribusinesses. The company is Australasia's second largest mushroom producer with a multi-faceted operation in and around Christchurch.

He founded the Asia New Zealand Foundation, a most significant achievement and is deputy chairman of Singapore based Guocol Leisure formerly BIL International and has had many other directorships.

Philip spoke to the students about the Asian influence on our culture and its effect on the economy. He said "China is a reality and there will be irritation and instability in the South Pacific and South-East Asia that will continue. China is benign and we can either be subsumed by this large power, or we can engage usefully. This is not going to effect my generation...it will effect you...over to you."

The interest his talk evoked was evident in the mob of students eager to speak with him at post-dinner drinks. It's always a treat to have Philip and Ros at dinner!

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