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Mar 21, 2018

New Plymouth entrepreneur enters New Zealand Business Hall of Fame, thirty years after his death

More than 30 years after his death, one of New Plymouth's most famous entrepreneurs has entered the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.

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In 1913 Russell Matthews created the first stretch of sealed road in New Zealand on New Plymouth's Currie St, while working as an assistant engineer for the-then New Plymouth Borough Council.

Sir Russell, as he became, died in 1987 so his son, John Matthews, also a successful businessman, will accept on the award on his behalf from the Governor General on July 27.

"We're pleased and pleased for him," he said.

"It's a great honour." 

Sir Russell spent years overseas after being drafted for the war in 1917 and studying road construction at a London polytechnic.

When he returned to New Zealand in 1922 he joined Isherwood Bellam and Company, where we was a partner and managing director.

Twenty years later he started his own firm, Russell Matthews and Company.

It became New Zealand's largest roading company, sealing more than 3000 kilometres of road from Whangarei to Invercargill.

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