Our history

About us

Our story is one of humble beginnings, hard work, great people and innovative thinking that continues to shape who we are today.

The origins of Fletcher Building date back to the early 1900s with a wooden villa that still stands in Dunedin, New Zealand, today.

From those humble beginnings, James Fletcher and his brothers started Fletcher Bros Ltd in 1915, starting the journey that has made Fletcher Building, and its brands, a trusted part of many people’s lives today.

About us our history Fletcher House 1910
About us our history Fletcher House 1909

It’s important to note that our history is diverse and that many companies in the Fletcher Building group have beginnings that go back even further than the early 1900s. Many of these businesses share Fletcher’s humble beginnings, pioneering spirit, and deep commitment to finding innovative ways to meet the needs of their customers.

For example, Higgins was established by brothers, continuing that values-based, family focus that has remained a constant throughout our entire history. Winstone Aggregates is another company which grew thanks to a strong partnership of brothers. It was founded by William Winstone in 1864 who started with a single coal cart. It is now one of New Zealand's largest aggregates businesses.

Through the 1920s, 30s and 40s, the business continued its steady growth, fuelled by a willingness to work hard and focus on meeting customer needs in new and better ways. This included the introduction of US-styled brick and tile houses in the late 1920s and the creation of New Zealand’s first ready-mix concrete business in the late 1930.

About us our history Wellington Railway Station 1937
About us our history Fletcher Bros Yard, Dunedin 1913

The early 1980s saw the creation of Fletcher Challenge, resulting in rapid expansion, both internationally via Asia, Europe and the UK and through the acquisition of diverse interests in forestry, paper, pulp, meat processing, gas distribution, and fisheries businesses.

By the 1990s, the focus firmly came back to the core business of building, building products, and home environments, leading to the divestment of many non-core businesses. In 2001, Fletcher Challenge was split into a number of focused, specialist businesses with the parent company, Fletcher Building Ltd, listing on the NZ stock exchange.

Since the millennium, Fletcher Building has been expanding through strategic merger and acquisition activity – like Laminex, which has further strengthened the core building business. Since the days of James Fletcher and his brothers we’ve been about building a great company, and no doubt we’ll continue to refine our portfolio as the needs of our customers and communities require us to.

Visit the Fletcher Trust Archives >>

About us our history Fletcher Kauri Premises Penrose 1961
About us our history Penrose industrial area 1955
Images courtesy of the Fletcher Trust Archives.

Top: (left) Fletcher House, c1909; (right) Fletcher House 1910.
Middle: (left) Fletcher Bros. yard, Dunedin, c1913; (right) Wellington Railway Station, 1937.
Bottom: (left) Fletcher Kauri premises, McNab St, Penrose, c1961; (right) Penrose industrial area, c1955.