Davis, Sir Ernest Hyam

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DAVIS, SIR ERNEST HYAM (1872–1962), New Zealand businessman and philanthropist. Davis was born in Nelson, the son of Moss Davis, an immigrant merchant, and developed his father's business, Hancock and Co., which controlled many of New Zealand's largest hotels. He was best known as one of the most important brewers in New Zealand, heading Captain Cook Brewery, the largest in the country, and was later prominent in founding the expanded New Zealand Breweries Ltd., as well as directing many other companies. Davis was one of the leaders of the anti-Prohibition movement in his country and, although a rich man, was a notable financial backer of the New Zealand Labour Party. He was mayor of Auckland from 1935 to 1941. During World War ii he was chairman of the joint council of St. John and the Red Cross. His donations to Auckland included the Davis Marine Park, Davis Marine Lighthouse, and the Marion Davis Memorial Medical Library. He also made large gifts to hospitals and other charities and to the Auckland Synagogue. Davis received a knighthood in 1937. At his death he was regarded as one of the towering figures in New Zealand's business life.

add. bibliography:

G.W.A. Bush, "Ernest Hyam Davis," in: Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.

[Alexander Astor /

William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]

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Davis, Sir Ernest Hyam

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