Nicholas Moraitis AM is in every way a genuine gentleman – his is the perfect embodiment of the classic tale of the son of a poor migrant family who through sheer hard work, innate pride in his Greek ancestry and genuine decency has built a business that is the pride of the fruit and
His father died when Nicholas was just five years old. His mother moved the family, Nicholas and his brother Paul, from Innisfail in Far North Queensland to Sydney to commence a new life. He and his brother attended a variety of schools including St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill. Upon leaving school Nicholas studied to become a chartered accountant. To earn extra money he commenced doing people’s books ‘on the side’. One of his clients, a relation through marriage, had a business selling potatoes. He offered this business to Nicholas. When he took over the business it was £4000 in debt. Nicholas paid off the creditors 100%. From such humble beginnings he grew his vision.
Nicholas began by delivering 75kg bags of potatoes to various shops throughout Sydney. With no forklifts to unload his truck, deliveries were done by hand, the task was arduous but he never lost the burning vision and passion to achieve his current business empire.
With characteristic vision, Nicholas Moraitis was among the first to recognise the future importance of supermarkets in Australia and he pioneered pre-pack consumer solutions with major factory investments.
Nicholas has built a national company that grows and supplies the very best in quality fresh fruit and vegetables to the country’s leading supermarkets, fruit markets, food service and national restaurant chains. Operations include wholesaling, packaging, processing and growing of fresh produce with a branch network and personnel in all major growing districts and retail markets throughout Australia. His business is the leading produce business in Australia. His expertise and wisdom are sought from many sources e.g. the Department of Primary Industries in New South Wales, where he is a member of the Agriculture Ministerial Advisory Council of NSW, and radio and television programs to name just a few. Over many years Nicholas has provided a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ assistance to initiatives for the future benefit of the industry, about which he is so passionate. He has been instrumental in raising the profile and positive image of the industry with the public at large. Nicholas’s horizons have never been limited by what others could do, instead he has adopted a bolder vision of what could be achieved and put it to the test.
Nicholas’s wife Maria unfortunately died some years ago of cancer. Nicholas now has a loving partner Judith, three children, Antonia, Stephen and Paul, two daughters in law Bernadette and Janelle, eleven grandchildren, three of whom are married and six great grandchildren. Both his sons are an integral part of the business, and five of his grandchildren also work in the business. Nicholas could be considered the perfect family man. The mutual love of Nicholas for his brood is beautiful to see and an inspiration to every family.
Nicholas has a passion for thoroughbred racing. His galloper, Might and Power, was rated the best horse in the world over 2000 metres. The extraordinary popularity of Might and Power in the general community worked to the good fortune of countless charities. Nicholas sent the horse, and continues to do so, at his expense to Charity Race Meetings all over Australia. These appearances of his great galloper have helped to raise countless sums of money for all kinds of charitable pursuits. Nicholas has personally displayed the unique trio of trophies: the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup at numerous functions for charities
Nicholas is immensely proud of his heritage and he has actively participated in the Greek and broader Australian communities. What is less known about Nicholas are his significant and often unheralded contributions to a wide range of charities and the less fortunate in our community. As Nicholas’s success has developed over the years, he has shown that he is a man of generous heart, both with his money and his time, and has made an outstanding contribution to numerous charities across a wide spectrum of need in Australia.
If I were to single out one such charity it would be the Spastic Centre of NSW now named the Cerebral Palsy Alliance where he has been a major donor and supporter of fundraising – raising over $4 million through the Annual Might and Power Race Day. This particular fund raising has enabled the Cerebral Palsy Alliance to open regional centres throughout New South Wales to provide support, closer to home, for children with cerebral palsy. This important development, not only provides ‘local’ treatment and support, it also prevents families from being disrupted when one parent needs to accompany a child to Sydney for assessment and treatment. In addition, Nicholas has been instrumental in introducing many key corporates to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance who have been a constant source of invaluable support.
He has been President of the Castellorizian Club in Sydney from 2005 to 2014. During that time he has:
- financially supported the Club personally, as well as providing strong leadership of the Board;
- provided tireless support to the Women’s Auxiliary and the annual Castellorizian Ball. This support has extended to recruiting his granddaughters and their friends as debutantes at an annual ball, to bolster debutante numbers;
- secured the financial future of the Club by closing down its loss making operations, secured a developer who has built an apartment block on the Club’s site, ensured that the Club will have a future meeting room and library to store all the Club’s heritage items and ensured that the Club has a viable financial future;
- been instrumental, in the early days of his presidency, in bringing Greek singers to perform at the Club, to promote Greek culture within the community and to financially benefit the Club;
- been ex-gratia member of the Board of Directors of the Castellorizian Nursing Home, Sydney.
Nicholas has always enjoyed sport. He has played competition squash and his love of Rugby League is legendary. As a young man he played Rugby League for South Sydney Juniors where he represented Souths in the President’s Cup, and also for Easts. He then captain/coached Bondi United in 1962 winning the club’s first ever A-Grade premiership. Nicholas later became a grade referee, and was appointed a member of the NSW Referees Selection Board. In 2007 he became a mentor for the Men of League Foundation. The mentorship program was established to assist players, who have had career ending injuries or who missed out on realising their rugby league dream, to re-enter the work force.
Nick’s Professional Roles include:
- President Castellorizian Club, Sydney (from 2005 to 2014)
- Director, Castellorizian Nursing Home, Sydney (from 2005 to 2014)
- Governor, Cerebral Palsy Foundation ( from 2005 to date and continuing)
- Member, Agriculture Ministerial Advisory Council of NSW the Department of Primary Industries (from 2006 to 2010)
- Board Member, Employers Federation now the Australian Federation of Employers and Industries (from 1995 to 1996)
- Vice President, Employers Federation now the Australian Federation of Employers and Industries (from 1996 to 1997)
- Mentor, Men of League Foundation (from 2002 to present and continuing)
- Woolworth Fresh Food Grant for fresh food sustainability in Australia. The Moraitis Group won the inaugural grant for their research and investment in processes to increase soil capacity to store water and nutrients, which means that less costly fertilisers and water needs to
be used (2008)
- Director, Sydney Turf Club (from 1998 to 2008)
Nick’s Awards include:
- NSW Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries, Market Industries Committee Industry Award for achievements and contributions to the fruit and vegetable industry (1999).
- NSW Community Service Award in recognition and appreciation for outstanding services to the community (2000).
- One of the Greek Australian sports men and women honoured by the Archdiocese of the Greek Orthodox Church for his contribution to sport in Australia (2000)
- Life Membership of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance of NSW (2001).
- AM (General Division) of Australia Day Honours’ List for service to the community through support for a range of organisations related to the health and welfare of children and to business through the fresh produce industry (2005)
- Life Membership of Sydney Turf Club (2008)
- Life Membership of Australian Turf Club (2012)
- Spiros Stamoulis Lifetime Achievement Award, Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2011).
Despite his self-made success Nicholas has not forgotten where he started and how tough things can be. He is prepared to give a person a go or a ‘bit of a leg up’ when others might turn away.