It’s been one hundred and fifty years since a young entrepreneur by the name of William Winstone began what is now New Zealand’s largest supplier of aggregates and sand.
Today, a fleet of 80 trucks are used to transport aggregate and sand from 26 Winstone locations throughout New Zealand. A loaded truck and trailer leaves a Winstone Aggregates quarry every 35 seconds.
But the company sprung from humble beginnings. In the mid-1800s, William Winstone began selling coal and scoria from a horse and cart to eager customers at the Auckland waterfront.
Under the leadership of four generations of the Winstone family, Winstone Ltd. became the country’s largest supplier of construction materials. New houses built in New Zealand from the 1950s to the 1980s were a patchwork of Winstone products – from window glass to floor tiles, gib board to roof tiles and bricks.
Fletcher Building purchased the company in 2000, after 135 years of operation, returning it to its roots in quarrying and logistics, albeit on a much bigger scale. The acquisition allowed Winstone Aggregates to extend its market position in concrete and infrastructure throughout New Zealand and lately, Australia, through its 2012 merger with Rocla Quarry Products.
One of a handful of New Zealand companies to have successfully traded through several disasters, (including the Great Depression and two World Wars), the company has recently faced a different type of disaster, the Christchurch earthquake. Three years on, the Christchurch wing of the business is now working to capacity, supplying aggregate for a city rebuild.
When the last Winstone-employed family member, Donald Winstone, retired from the business in 1984, he referred back to his forefathers, saying:
“They were God-fearing hardworking men…who put every penny they earned back into the company, often to the detriment of their own families. They also had the knack of employing people with the same work ethics. During the depression of the 1930s, I can well recall the pride (they) took in stating they had never dismissed any staff, even though they drew no salaries for themselves for several years. This philosophy filtered right through the company and is one of the reasons for the loyalty of the staff today.”