Sir Ernest Hyam Davis - Cross of the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour
The spectacular career of Ernest Davis started modestly enough in his father’s liquor business. Hancock & Company, in 1892. By 1910 he was running the company and well on the way to controlling the direction of liquor industry.
He worked with his father and brother to successfully fight the prohibition lobby and in 1923 he helped create New Zealand Breweries, a combine of 10 breweries, to fight nationalisation of the liquor trade.
But Davis had an equal commitment to public and community service, being a member of nearly 100 organisations in his lifetime. He was elected as the mayor of Newmarket, Auckland, in 1909 and became one of the most popular Aucklanders after winning the city mayoralty in 1935 and 1938.