John O’Sullivan grew up in Kāpiti and attended St Patrick’s School and Kāpiti College before completing his secondary studies St Patrick’s College, Silverstream.
Then, armed with a commerce degree from Victoria University, he embarked on a 14 year career with Lion Breweries in hotel management, before spending what he calls his “best four years ever” at home with his children while his wife Rosie returned to work.
It was during this time that John began to develop his concept for what would eventually become a multi-million dollar retirement village business.
Driven by a desire to “create a retirement village community my grandmother would happily call home” and with its beginnings on a Levin property, Summerset Village in Whanganui was born, followed by Kāpiti and then Palmerston North.
By the time Summerset was sold for $125 million in 2006, the business was a household name in New Zealand with 10 villages and 3 land banks. Today, the business that John created is a listed company with 25 villages nationwide.
John has always believed in supporting locals and putting back into the community. He is proud of the fact that, from the beginning, trades and professional suppliers to Summerset were encouraged to own shares in the company. Throughout John’s 167 months at the helm of Summerset, its contractors were always paid on time, while many local companies that got their start in being suppliers to Summerset have gone on to create successful businesses in their own right.
John has had a long history of active involvement in the Kāpiti community. While his children were growing up he was on the Board of Trustees for the primary school, the committee of the Waikanae Recreation Centre and a Treasurer for his local scout group.
Today he is the Chair of the committee planning the relocation of the school and churches of Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish to its new site on Milne Drive.
Ten years ago John launched the Amnico Foundation, an organisation that focuses on the support and education of youth. Among other things Amnico is the principal sponsor of Youth Quest, and has also helped put young men through St Patrick’s College, Silverstream.
John says that of all the things he has done, he is most proud of the difference he is helping make in these young people’s lives.