Inspire our kids to be something better

At 5am on Anzac Day, Mike Olsen scrambled up a ladder to plug in the power for his tape recorder. He was recording the bugle player at the Paihiatua RSA Anzac Day dawn parade. Mike was 13 years old.

These seeds of being involved in community led him to a successful business life.  Not content with that, him and his wife, Margaret, want to help develop future leaders from the Kapiti Coast.

The Mike and Margaret Olsen Endowment Fund with Nikau Foundation will give grants to help young people from Kapiti reach their potential. For those already showing promise and motivation, this fund will help pay for programmes such as Outward Bound, local Rotary leadership programmes, and more.

Pictured: Mike & Margaret Olsen

We have a few programmes in this country for the ones who aren’t doing so well,” says Mike. “There aren’t so many for those who already aspire to be better. The ones who already have self-determination are tomorrow’s future leaders.

Mike himself was influenced by positive people and guidance at a young age. He completed a Jaycee leadership course which opened his eyes to his potential. He has also encouraged his children to do the same.

Another major influence in his life was his step-father, who was a farmer and Chair of, the then, Manawatu County.

He was smart and knew he had to diversify his farming. He worked hard and got the major decisions right.

At the age of 25 Mike owned his own supermarket. By 27 he was on the board of Foodstuffs (the youngest ever). He continued his business success and community involvement. Wherever he has lived he has been involved in local business networks and associations; he’s either current or has been the ex-Chair or President of Kapiti Chamber of Commerce, Wellington Chamber Board, Dannevirke District Council, Kapiti Club, a local kindergarten and EMS. The list goes on.

Mike has always believed in supporting community to the level of what you can afford in time and effort.

It’s everybody’s job to help the community and make this a better place to live, and many do. Some people get involved in sport or volunteer in other ways. Everyone can contribute a little bit.