Amy Maria Hellaby was a New Zealand businesswoman, and for a time, New Zealand’s largest employer.
Amy was born in Cheshire, England, emigrating with her father, John Briscoe, to the Chatham Islands in 1872, receiving her education as a boarding student at St Mary’s Convent in Ponsonby.
In 1885, aged 20 she married 36-year-old Richard Hellaby, a butcher, at St Marks Church in Remuera. She supported her husband’s expanding meat business and cared for their six children for the next seventeen years. In 1900 they assumed responsibility for William and Rosina Hellaby’s five children, when their parents unexpectedly died.
Richard Hellaby died in 1902, and widowed at 38, Amy found herself responsible for both families and the business. She also supervised the completion of her palatial home, Bramcote.
Amy was a courageous and independent woman and a natural leader. She was the second woman to be inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame in 2000, having died in her 92nd year in 1955 at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Epsom.
Amy Maria HELLABY