Russell Pettigrew

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Sir Russell Hilton Pettigrew (10 September 1920 – 20 March 2015) was a New Zealand businessman and philanthropist. He was the founder of transport company Freightways Ltd.


Pettigrew was born at Hangatiki (between Otorohanga and Te Kuiti) in 1920,[1] attended Te Kuiti District High School and served in the navy during World War II. In 1964 he founded Freightways Ltd.[2]

Pettigrew was a rugby player and later was a member of the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union, serving as its president and patron.[3] He was also president of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.[2] In 1986, Pettigrew and Kel Tremain established the New Zealand Rugby Foundation.[4] He is the patron of the Sensible Sentencing Trust[5] and has bred, owned and raced thoroughbreds since the 1970s.[6]

In the 1983 New Year Honours, Pettigrew was made a Knight Bachelor, for services to the transport industry.[7] He was inducted into the Hawke's Bay Business Hall of Fame in 2010,[2] and the New Zealand Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2013.[8]

He died in Hawke's Bay in 2015.[9]


  1. ^ "Sir Russell Pettigrew". NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame. 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Fowler, Michael (13 July 2010). "Pioneers headed to Hall of Fame". Hawke's Bay Today. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Pettigrew's $150K donation to park plan". Hawke's Bay Today. 11 November 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Chipp, Jim (28 December 2012). "Boil-up with fancy touch". Hutt News. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Napier rejects grant to Sensible Sentencing Trust". New Zealand Herald. 11 March 2004. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Jenkins, John (6 June 2012). "Racing: Morpheus deserved windfall for Pettigrew". Hawke's Bay Today. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  7. ^ London Gazette (supplement), No. 49214, 30 December 1982. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  8. ^ McDougall, Nicci (31 August 2013). "Six more inducted into hall of fame". Southland Times. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Sir Russell Pettigrew, Freightways founder, former NZRFU president dies". New Zealand Herald. 21 March 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015.