A Founder's Vision

The Warehouse Group was founded by Sir Stephen Robert Tindall, KNZM, who opened his first The Warehouse store on Auckland’s North Shore in 1982.

Born in 1951, Sir Stephen attended Takapuna Grammar School before completing a Diploma of Management from the Auckland Institute of Technology. He spent 12 years with retailer George Court & Sons, rising to Merchandise Director, before setting out to start his own retail chain that became New Zealand’s iconic ‘Red Sheds’.

He held the position of Managing Director at The Warehouse until 2001, and remains a director of the company. In 1995, Sir Stephen and his wife Lady Margaret established The Tindall Foundation, vesting half their shareholding in The Warehouse in The Tindall Foundation, and they continue to serve as Trustees. The Foundation has contributed more than $145 million, largely derived from dividends from The Warehouse after tax, to community and environment projects throughout New Zealand.

Today, the Foundation gives away around $10 million a year.

Donations range from small charitable donations of up to $1,000, to bigger donations of up to $1 million for large-scale, partnership projects, those that focus on creating long-term social change, described by Stephen as ‘catalytic philanthropy’.

Sir Stephen remains a prominent entrepreneur and venture capital investor, having invested more than $250 million in seed and venture capital into Kiwi start-up companies, particularly those focused on the global marketplace. He is a supporter of New Zealand’s America’s Cup sailing Team New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand’s Goldmine project which utilises technology to assist Olympians maximise their full potential. In 1997 The New Zealand Herald named Sir Stephen ‘Business Person of the Year’ and a year later, Sir Stephen was named the Deloitte–New Zealand Management magazine Executive of the Year. In 2006, he was awarded the Blake Medal on behalf of the Sir Peter Blake Trust in recognition of his outstanding leadership contributions to New Zealand. In 2007, Stephen was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of services to business and the community. He received his knighthood in 2009. He holds honorary doctorates from AUT and Massey University, and in 2015, he was named Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

In 2019, he was made a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business, the community, and the environment.