Lionel Nelson NiveNews 1937

Lionel Nelson

Born 1885   Died 1937




The Torch of Life

Thus we all with a joyful mind,
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the hosts behind,
“Play up, play up and play the game.”

It is something which is rarely spoken of in books dealing with buisness [business] methods or modern selling. It is something inherent in some men and some businesses. It is known by many names, fair dealing, character, honour, benevolence, but call it what you will it is what makes business and life itself worth while. There have been spectacular cases where some men and some businessses have succeeded although lacking in this quality, but they have been unhappy men and unhappy businesses.

We of this organisation are fortunate in having long known this quality. It was so strong at the fountain head it permeated the entire place. It manifested itself as a minimum of red tape, as a close friendly relationship within the business. Our customers felt it in endeavours to be fair at all costs, to consider the spirit rather than the letter of the law.

Such a spirit is too precious to lose. The friendly atmosphere, the desire to help rather than condemn, strict impartiality and fairness, the helping hand, above all friendship – these are what really matter – they are vital.

The firm will go on. That torch lighted so many years ago will go on with it. We are fortunate in the heritage passed on by one we all knew, respected and loved.

He would be happier knowing that we will carry on ‘playing the game’ in the way he would have us play it.

The Chief

It is with most profound sorrow that we have to record the sudden death on August 23rd of Mr. Lionel Nelson who was managing director of Jas. J. Niven & Co. Ltd. for 24 years.

By his death the firm has lost an outstanding leader, and the staff, from highest to lowest, a true friend.

Those who knew him best will agree that he stood for what was good, clean and honest. He lived for others and kept self in the background. We shall never know how often he held out a helping hand to those who asked for sympathy, wise counsel, and material relief, but we do know that many such will mourn the loss of a real friend.

He was thoughtful for others in the big things in life, and particularly in the small things which mean so much. He could be relied on to do what we would expect any decent man to do – and a bit more. He did to others as he wished them to do to him – and a bit more; and it is that bit more that was so typical of the light that he had within him, and which makes us feel that we were privileged to be his friends.

These are some of the spontaneous tributes from those who knew him:

“He had a quality all his own. I never met him without feeling it.”
“He was a type we can ill afford to do without at the present time.”
“I shall always remember his kindness and consideration.”
“All who knew him intimately had a great regard for him. We much regret his untimely end.”
“A most upright and honourable gentleman.”
“His genial personality and friendliness will be sadly missed by all who were privileged to know him.”
“We have all lost a friend.”

To Mrs. Nelson and to the other members of the family we tender our very deep and heartfelt sympathy.



Mr. E.W. Maclean has been appointed Managing Director of Jas. J. Niven & Co. Ltd. For the greater portion of his life he has been closely associated with the late Mr. Lionel Nelson. They both went to Cambridge together, subsequently Mr. Maclean training with engineering firms in the Old Country. During the War he saw service in the N.Z.E.F., rising to the rank of Captain in the Machine-gun Battalion. Mr. Maclean has been with the firm for over 27 years, during which time he has been in touch with all phases of the business.

Mr. Harold Thomas, our Dunedin Manager, with his small son, arrived from England by the “Tainui” after six months’ holiday and business trip.

Mr H D Nelson, who for the last 2½ years has been studying engineering in England, recently returned to New Zealand. He has joined the firm at Wellington.

Mr. J. Gillitzer, of the Robert Bosch Company, Germany, is coming to New Zealand (with his wife and family) to join our organisation in the interests of our Bosch agency. Mr Gillitzer comes to us with excellent reports from his people, and we are looking forward to his assistance in expanding and consolidating this valuable agency of world renown.

To Mr. Sam Luke, who used to be in charge of our Wellington Foundry, we extend our sincere condolences in the recent loss of his mother.

Mr. Karl Zehender, who provided us with a most interesting article on Japan in our first issue of “Nivenews,” recently met with a serious motor accident in Germany. He has now recovered and is proceeding to India on business for his firm, Messrs. Robert Bosch A.G.

E. (Sparks) Pittock returned to New Zealand by the “Niagara” on the 18th October, after visiting both England and America in the interests of our Bearing Department.

Alan Gunn, of Alan W. Gunn Pty. Ltd., Sydney, recently arrived in New Zealand on a holiday visit and came in to see the old firm. Alan used to be with our Christchurch and Dunedin branches, and his many friends in these districts will be pleased to hear that he is looking remarkably well and still maintaining [maintains] the kindliest thoughts of Nivenco and New Zealand.

To Our Friends Overseas

Christmas Greetings

One of the aims of this little magazine is to cement the bond of friendship between Nivenco and our Business Associations overseas – wherever they may be. We would like to feel that International Brotherhood may be hastened by the interchanges of business relationships.

As this issue of “Nivenews” will reach you towards the end of the year, we take the opportunity of wishing you from far away New Zealand the best of good wishes for Christmas 1937, and increased prosperity for 1938.

J.J.N. & CO.

Original digital file


Non-commercial use

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).


Commercial Use

The donor of this material does not allow commercial use.

Format of the original

Magazine article

Date published

October-November 1937


Jas J Niven & Company Limited


  • J Gillitzer
  • Alan Gunn
  • Sam Luke
  • E W Maclean
  • H D Nelson
  • Lionel Nelson
  • E (Sparks) Pittock
  • Harold Thomas
  • Karl Zehender

Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.