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Scope 38 - The Malaghan family legacy

17 April 2009

The namesake of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Len Malaghan, was born in 1906. As a young man, he was a cheese and butter maker at the Tapanui Co-operative Dairy Factory and had a keen eye for business. Following an opportunity to train under a visiting ice cream manufacturer from the United States, Len and his wife Ann opened a milk bar in Wellington in 1936, specialising in ice cream and milkshakes. That humble enterprise was an immediate success and soon expanded into what we know today as Tip Top Ice Cream Ltd. In fact the first ice cream on a stick, the Topsy, was named after one of Len’s favourite cows.

Len's generosity to the Wellington Medical Research Foundation began when he was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 56. He and his wife Ann established a medical research trust by gifting shares in General Foods Corporation to the Foundation in 1967. Len and Ann’s legacy lives on through their family with son Graham serving as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees since 1990, and grandson Matthew joining the Board in 2008. Other family members have played significant roles in various fundraising initiatives.

While Len passed away forty years ago, at the relatively young age of 61, scientists at the Malaghan Institute remain committed to fulfilling his vision of improved health outcomes for all New Zealanders.