Wayne James Francis was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1943. He was educated at West Spreydon Primary School and later at Waitaki Boys’ High School in Oamaru.
Wayne started his working life as a shearer and farmer, but made his name in land development, and as a co-founder of the Nevele-R stud – one of New Zealand’s most influential standardbred breeding farms. Wayne had a love of horses and raced a number of winners.
Wayne’s enduring commitment to youth stemmed from his experiences as a parent. His vision was for all young people to overcome barriers, maximise their potential, and live happy, fulfilled lives.
However, Wayne didn’t believe in handouts. He backed people who backed themselves, and who accepted the challenge of adversity and strove to rise above it. He encouraged generosity in others and endeavoured to strengthen social responsibility within the community.
Wayne died of cancer in 1999. The Wayne Francis Charitable Trust was established prior to his death, and embodies Wayne’s core values.