Along with many I was shocked and saddened to hear of Wenceslaus Anthony’s death on May 23, 2017.
‘Wency’ was known and respected by MPs across the political spectrum and I would often chat with him at Indian community functions. He was always kind, generous with his time, and a great source of advice and encouragement.
His story is an inspirational one. After a distinguished career in India, Wenceslaus arrived in New Zealand in 1999. He continued to successfully pursue business interests, but he also devoted a large part of this life to giving back.
As a person of considerable commercial acumen and standing, he became a key person in the development of a closer economic relationship between New Zealand and India. He was an important member of delegations to India under both Labour and National governments, and became the Chair of the India New Zealand Business Council – the first person of Indian origin to fill that role.
In recognition of his services to India-New Zealand relations he received the Order of New Zealand in 2014.
Wenceslaus was well known to be a committed Catholic and how wonderful it was for him to receive a rare papal medal, the ‘Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice’ just two months before his untimely death. The award recognised his service to the Church and society including his role as Chairperson of both the Divine Retreat Centre Movement and the Mother Theresa Interfaith Centre.
In the time that I have been involved in politics I have never heard a person speak ill of Wenceslaus. He was widely loved and respected because of his genuineness, warmth, and giving spirit. He achieved a great deal in his 59 years, and his commitment to serving others is an example to us all.
At this sad time, my prayers and the very best wishes of the Labour party are with his close family, especially his wife Susan and two children Akash and Sneha.
Michael Wood is elected Member of Parliament from Mt Roskill and Labour Party’s Ethnic Communities Spokesman. He is seen here listening to a speech by Wenceslaus Anthony at the launch of our Electionlink by Labour Party leader Andrew Little on February 28, 2017 in Auckland. (Picture by Creative Eye Fotographics).