German-born Bendix Hallenstein was the son of a mill owner who made shoddy - woollen yarn from rags with some new wool added. It was a inauspicious start to what would become a stellar business career.
Moving to New Zealand in 1863, he opened a store in Invercargill but moved the business to Queenstown in 1864. With sawmiller James Robertson, Hallenstein opened Otago's first inland flour mill in 1867 at Kawarau Falls.
Hallenstein succeeded Robertson as mayor of Queenstown in 1869 but in 1873 he moved to Dunedin where he established the New Zealand Clothing Factory, the basis of a business that became the highly successful nationwide chain known as Hallenstein Bros.