Malcolm Roy Smith CMG.MBE.DFC
Founder of the Kela Foundation

Mal was the owner and founder of the Pacific Helicopters Group, one of the largest providers of aviation services in the Southern Hemisphere.

Mal was born in England, immigrated to Australia as a child where he completed his education and served with distinction in the Australian Defence Forces.  Whilst serving in the Defence Forces, Mal qualified as a helicopter pilot, and, subsequently, began his business career in aviation.  In 1969 Mal was posted to Papua New Guinea.  Soon after he established the Pacific Helicopters Group and then expanded and diversified his business interests into building and construction, hotels and resorts.  After a brief career in PNG Politics, where he served two terms as a member of the PNG Parliament and Governor of the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, Mal began sharing his time between Australia and Papua New Guinea.  

Mal always made time to serve the not-for-profit sectors.  A strong advocate of Global Corporate Social Responsibility Mal had extensive experience in management and leadership roles with several national and international non-profit organisations.  Mal pioneered and implemented various grant making programs and business partnerships focused on improving social and economic conditions in developing communities.  In Papua New Guinea, Mal was regularly heard on issues concerning environmental research and conservation.

The Kela Foundation was Mal’s initiative to assist and support underprivileged and disadvantage communities in Australia and help preserve and sustain their environment.  His vision was to create a resource to give underprivileged children and their communities access to the same opportunities that were afforded to him as a child in Australia.

Sadly, on 4th April 2021, Mal passed away in hospital due to unexpectedly severe complications from an acute illness.

Mal was a rare person, humble whilst deeply committed to helping those less fortunate.  Mal inspired many people with his ambition and vision.  He made wishes come true for many of the vulnerable and less fortunate.  Mal was a “larger than life character” who had touched the hearts and lives of many people and has left behind an incredible legacy.  

Despite this great loss, the Directors will continue to build on Mal’s vision for the Kela Foundation.

Mal will be remembered as one of life’s true humanitarians.

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