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MCDONALD’S NEW ZEALAND FOUNDER DIES


last updated 26/05/2010

McDonald’s New Zealand’s founding father, Hugh Morris, has passed away in Auckland after a long battle with ill health.

McDonald’s opened its doors for the first time in New Zealand on 7 June 1976. Hugh Morris, brother Wally and fellow pioneers Gary Lloydd, Ray Stonelake and Lionel Whitehead served the very first Big Mac hamburgers at McDonald’s Porirua, and grew the business together to what is today a 150-strong restaurant network employing more than 9,000 people.Hugh Morris, founding father of McDonald's in New Zealand

During his 20 year tenure, Hugh took a special interest in the training and development of McDonald’s employees nationwide, influencing many of the company’s current staff and franchisees until his retirement in the mid 90’s.

After a determined pitch to McDonald’s Corporation in the US to allow them to open a New Zealand arm of the McDonald’s restaurant chain, Hugh and his partners then faced the many challenges and demands of launching an internationally-successful brand in a small country that wasn’t quite ready for them.  From these simple but tough beginnings, McDonald’s in New Zealand has seen significant change, particularly as part of the burgeoning Asia Pacific market, and is now seen by many in the McDonald’s world as a global benchmark.

A spokesman for McDonald's said, 'Hugh will be remembered for his passion and energy. He truly lived and breathed the dedication and enthusiasm of the McDonald’s business, and laid the foundations to ensure the company continues to grow and succeed as it did under his great leadership.'

Hugh leaves behind his wife Meryl, three children, three step-children and many grandchildren.  His legacy also lives on through McDonald’s employment awards and scholarships in his name.

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