The Borrin Family

Judge Ian Borrin’s parents, Michael and Suzanne Borrin, came to New Zealand from Warsaw in the early 1930s. The tragedy of losing their Jewish family and friends in World War II left them with deep gratitude to New Zealand for providing safe refuge. The Borrin Foundation is the family’s gift back to New Zealand.

Michael and Suzanne Borrin’s story

Michael and Suzanne Borrin came to New Zealand from Warsaw, Poland, in the early 1930s, a young Jewish couple looking to start a new life. They established a highly successful clothing manufacturing company in Wellington called ‘Peerless’, which generated the majority of their wealth.

Many of the couple’s Jewish family members and friends left in Warsaw would go on to lose their lives in death camps during World War II. This tragedy left Michael and Suzanne with immense gratitude to New Zealand for providing them with safe refuge, and a desire to give something back to their adopted country.

Philanthropy and generosity were always a big part of Michael and Suzanne’s lives. They saw their success and the community’s success as intertwined.

Michael Borrin

Michael Borrin,
c. 1990s, New Zealand

Suzanne Borrin

Suzanne Borrin (nee Krinsky),
c. 1920s, Poland

Judge Ian Albert Borrin

Ian Borrin was Michael and Suzanne’s only child. He was born in Wellington in 1935.

Ian dedicated his life to the law. He progressed from law school to become a practising lawyer, a Family Court Judge and then head of the Police Complaints Authority (now the Independent Police Conduct Authority). He was hardworking and loved his work. He is said to have never taken a day’s leave from his role as head of the Authority (2001-2007).

Judge Borrin’s commitment to his work stemmed from his passionate belief that the law should be a force for good in the world. He cared deeply about people and about the role of law in society.

On his death in March 2016, Ian Borrin left a large bequest ($38 million) to establish the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation. This generous legacy both honours his parents and gives a gift to all of New Zealand. It reflects the Borrin family’s deep gratitude and commitment to New Zealand, Ian’s love of the law and his conviction that law provides an essential foundation for a flourishing society.

Ian Borrin

Judge Ian Borrin (Photo credit: Stuff/Dominion Post)

Judge Borrin’s commitment to his work stemmed from his deeply held belief that the law should be a force for good in the world. He cared deeply about people and about the role of law in society.