Thomas Macarthy saw two business opportunities during the mining boom he invested in several gold mines, and he quenched the miners thirst by setting up a small brewery. Both ventures proved extremely profitable.
In 1877, Wellington beckoned and Thomas moved across the Cook Strait. He bought two breweries in central Wellington along with hotels and other urban properties. The financial liquidity of brewing made it a sound investment during the depression of the 1880s and early 1890s.
Thomas Macarthy went on to become one of Wellingtons most distinguished businessmen and was very active in public affairs. He was a director of the Wellington Opera House Company and president of the Wellington Racing Club. When the Bank of New Zealand changed its head office location from London to Wellington in 1894, Thomas was named as one of the first New Zealand-based directors.
Thomas Macarthy died in August 1912. Half of his estate was held in trust for his wife, Mary Ellen Fitzsimons, while the remainder was used to create the Thomas George Macarthy Trust. When Mary Ellen Fitzsimons died childless in 1934, her half of the estate was also passed to the Thomas George Macarthy Trust. At that point, the estate was estimated at over £350,000 which put it well within the top 0.1 per cent of all New Zealand estates.
The Macarthy Trust is now one of the longest running trusts in the country and has distributed more than $58 million dollars for charitable and educational purposes since its inception.