publisherWhen Kiwi engineering history absolutely flakes off your walls, it sometimes must be hard to shake it from the shoulders. In business for seven score and 10 more years, plus a few for luck. In digits that’s some 153 years of engineering under their caps.

I’m talking of Farra Engineering, the iconic Dunedin-based engineering firm and quite possibly the oldest business in New Zealand still trading under its original name.

It is genuinely iconic.

But for an engineering firm that wants to add to its business partners and has upskilled the tools for the jobs – to manufacture more, create more – history doesn’t get the job done. The ‘now’ does, mixed in with a good dose of preparation for the future.

So, although it’s immensely proud of its heritage and thick-as-swede-soup engineering traditions, in my dealings with ceo John Whittaker and divisional manager Machining, Mike Ryan, it was the future they had their eyes firmly on.

This is one business dedicated to not resting on laurels.

They will be (Stand 9) one of many exhibitors at this year’s SouthMACH2017 in Christchurch late May, among the just shy of 100 others who will be pushing their engineering products and services to a buoyant South Island industry.

Along with our Cover Story (pages 8-13), this edition of Engineering News highlights some of the best on offer at this year’s expo. Aad van der Poel of XPO sums up the SI’s premier technology trade show nicely when he says it is the heartland of New Zealand manufacturing.

“If you are an engineer – mechanical, design, consultant, electrical; machinist; communications technician/manager; supervisor; technical operator; operations manager or similar, then SouthMACH offers the tools, technology and services to work smarter,” he adds.

All in one place, talking the same talk: engineering. Get along.

Although I’m still relatively new to the engineering industry and still soaking up as much of what makes the industry tick as possible, the underlying principle of manufacturing and making things is one that I’m very familiar with and it still excites.

Hamilton’s Transmission House Limited (Page 66) is one example of proactiveness in extending upon an offering, and upskilling some aspects to very high international standards. THL is now geared up for Kiwi Motovario assembly.

Although THL has been the Motovario distributor in New Zealand for 28 years, Todd Robbins says that the company has taken an opportunity.

“Our customers will benefit greatly from the new Assembly Centre… it is all registered straight back to Motovario so anything that is built out of here has a worldwide factory warranty so, for equipment manufacturers this allows them to supply anywhere in the world with the peace-of-mind that they have the full support of the Motovario warranty.”

Todd says that Transmission House is now authorised to assemble helical bevel, helical inline and parallel shaft mounted units in Hamilton to those precise factory standards.

Effectively, it means that the Hamilton operation becomes an extension of the Motovario factories and needs to meet strict assembly procedure’s and conditions. That has to be good.

Lastly, if you haven’t got your teeth into our digital issue, make sure you do as it’s far more than just a magazine replication with video in pages, downloadable product pdfs, moving eMotion… just plenty. Go to to sign up for free, all you need to do is enter an email address. Simple.

See you at the show.

Greg Robertson