Thomas Russell Jnr
Irish-born carpenter's son Thomas Russell jnr was articled to an Auckland barrister in 1844, admitted to the bar in 1851 and by age 30 was an acknowledged member of Auckland's commercial elite.
His milestone was helping form New Zealand's capital market, notably with the flotation of the New Zealand Insurance Company in 1859 and the Bank of New Zealand in 1861.
By the 1860s he and partner Frederick Whitaker, twice the New Zealand premier, were running the richest law practice in the colony.
A land speculator and goldmining investor, Russell established an intricate network of business and political friendships, not least with Colonial Treasurer Sir Julius Vogel whom he assisted raising government loans in England.