Taranaki has a world-class pedigree of manufacturing and engineering that prospective investors can tap into and leverage.

Taranaki’s engineering talent is well placed to support the emergent post-pandemic manufacturing sector.

Underpinned by innovation, entrepreneurship and exceptional standards honed in its food and energy sectors, Taranaki engineers have tackled some of the world’s most logistically and technically challenging projects. Accommodation modules for international offshore oil and gas facilities, pressure vessels and complex piping systems, and the design and construction of an all-glass underwater restaurant for an island resort have all originated in Taranaki. Several manufacturing plants for the food, pharmaceutical and petrochemical sectors have also been developed.

Taranaki’s food manufacturing sector accounts for nearly 5% of GDP, and is already supporting the region’s economic recovery process. There is huge potential to further leverage the strength of Taranaki’s food sector to make value-add products.

With Taranaki leading New Zealand’s shift to a low-emissions economy, and being in a strong position within the food sector and food production, there is opportunity for investment in manufacturing and engineering enterprise to support high-value food and beverage products and new energy initiatives across hydrogen, wind, biofuel, solar and other renewables. Furthermore, the infrastructure and support expertise exists to help deliver projects of all scales.

DIALOG Fitzroy Ltd

DIALOG Fitzroy’s success has, literally, been forged in steel.

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The Taranaki multi-disciplined engineering and heavy fabrication company, formerly known as Fitzroy Engineering, has been operating for more than 50 years and has built a strong international reputation for its work across the oil and gas, petrochemical and energy sectors.

The company has designed, fabricated and constructed some high-profile international projects, such as the Northern Oil Refinery in Queensland, the 650-tonne, 19m-high accommodation and utilities modules for the ‘Yolla’ offshore gas platform in the Bass Strait in Australia, and the remarkable all-glass underwater restaurant – the largest in the world – for an island resort in the Maldives.

In 2011, its global reach grew when DIALOG Group Berhad, one of Malaysia’s leading integrated specialist technical service providers to the oil and gas and petrochemical industries, bought a 90% stake in the company. DIALOG is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and is listed on the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange.

Having had a working relationship for a number of years before the acquisition, DIALOG Fitzroy business development and marketing manager Mark Arnold says DIALOG saw Fitzroy Engineering’s high-quality work and reputation as the “perfect vehicle” for expansion in Australia and New Zealand.

With close to 500 permanent staff in offices and depots in New Plymouth, South Taranaki, Whangarei, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Brisbane and Chinchilla, in regional Queensland, DIALOG Fitzroy is a truly international company, but Mark says Taranaki remains a crucial base.

“We love it here and are extremely proud to call ourselves a Taranaki company,” he says.

“We have offices and people spread all over New Zealand and parts of Australia but remain first and foremost a Taranaki-based organisation.

“Being principally an oil and gas and energy engineering company, based in the heart of that industry in New Zealand, there are advantages in being here, such as a concentrated workforce of qualified and experienced people. The people, local bodies and industry have a fantastic can-do attitude, which helps us to achieve.

“From a practical perspective, Taranaki and New Plymouth offer outstanding transport corridors to our markets via road and sea, which is an important component of our competitive ability in international markets.”

Mark says the company’s success has been built on a desire to find better solutions for clients, and continued technological innovation, which has allowed DIALOG Fitzroy to work more efficiently and effectively.

“We have always looked for the best people, offered them the best training and opportunities for personal growth. We’re always looking to add good people to our company and often they come from outside of Taranaki so, importantly, the province has a lot to offer in terms of a quality lifestyle.”

DIALOG Fitzroy is also looking to the future and the role of the company and Taranaki in a low-emissions economy.

“We are committed to the development of renewable and green energy sources, such as hydrogen, biofuels, wind, water and geothermal, and aim to have a significant role with the National New Energy Development Centre in Taranaki,” Mark says.

“Taranaki has great local resources with available industrial land, and forward-thinking local government and regional development agencies ready to assist. There are outstanding opportunities available for investment in traditional and renewable energy sources.”

Argyle Performance Workwear

For decades, a company based in a small Taranaki town has been helping workers across New Zealand and Australia stay safe on the job.

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Argyle Performance Workwear, which develops and supplies safety and performance workwear and footwear products, has been operating from Hāwera, in South Taranaki, for more than 30 years.

Through user insights and trials, the company designs workwear, then contracts factories in Asia, India, and Australia to manufacture the Argyle-branded gear to its own specifications. The products are sold through safety workwear retailers and are worn at building sites, forestry blocks, industrial plants, and factories across New Zealand and Australia.

Started as a small, family company, Argyle has grown to become a market leader, employing more than 40 staff in total at its Hāwera head office and bases in Wellington and Christchurch.

Its success has also made it attractive to buyers. In 2014, Argyle was bought by Most Excellent Investments Ltd of Wellington, the investment arm of Most Excellent Holdings Ltd.

In late 2019, Argyle was sold to Paramount Safety New Zealand, the Auckland-based branch of privately owned Paramount Safety Products, one of Australia’s leading wholesalers of industrial and personal safety items. Paramount Safety Products employs more than 100 people and has offices and distribution warehouses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland.

Argyle Performance Workwear chief executive Craig Broomhall says the company’s success highlights that a quality, international business can be established in, and operated from, rural Taranaki.

“There’s nothing to stop good businesses developing here. And if you have a good business, it’s attractive to investors from wherever they are – investors who are looking to spread their portfolio across cities, regions, markets and industries,” he says.

“There are a lot of further opportunities for us in Taranaki,” Craig says. “Paramount really like the operation we have in Hāwera and want to grow the staff and the business. We have planned for expansion and that’s where we’re heading.”

Craig says there are ample opportunities for further enterprise investment and development in South Taranaki, and the business environment and connectivity are as good, if not better, than metropolitan New Zealand.

“Take, for example, property prices. We operate from a fairly new 2500sqm warehouse and 500sqm office in Hāwera. To get comparable floor space in Auckland or Wellington would be incredibly expensive. So we’re running our overheads on a lower base.

“We also have good transport links in and out of Hāwera, and reliable overnight service around the whole country, which is better delivery than what many companies have out of Auckland.”

Aside from a manager in Wellington, all of Argyle’s leadership team is based in Hāwera. Craig says the business has never struggled to attract talent.

“We have skilled, hard-working staff. Having a good business attracts good talent, wherever you are. The lifestyle in Taranaki is fantastic; it’s easy to get around if you commute, and the region is a great place to establish a business and operate from.”
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