It was a lack of dumpers in New Zealand that first led to the formation of family business ATJ Machinery, which has opened a branch in Warkworth’s Morrison Drive.
English owners, Guy and Debbie Marshall, had a background in construction and demolition before they immigrated to the Bay of Islands in 2006. When they arrived, they were surprised to find small site tippers were virtually non-existent here.
“Kiwis have always used big trucks or tractors, so we saw there was a need for dumpers,” Guy says. “When they use them now, they say how brilliant they are and how did they do without them.”
After taking on the NZ dealership for importing Thwaites dumpers from the UK in 2007, the Marshalls decided general earthmoving equipment hire was the way to go, and set up their business in Waipapa, just north of Kerikeri.
They formed their company and named it using the initials of their sons, Aaron, Tom and Joe, who all work for the business.
Now, with an extensive range of dumpers, diggers, rollers and forklifts, ATJ Machinery has expanded south into Warkworth.
The new branch is being run chiefly by Aaron, with younger brothers Tom and Joe chipping in, too.
Aaron says he knew little about New Zealand when his parents moved the family out here nine years ago and at first it all seemed very different, but now he loves the life here.
“I haven’t done much travelling around here yet, mainly because I’ve just moved down – and the weather – but I can’t wait to get out in the boat in the summer,” he says.
ATJ’s machines vary in size from mini-diggers and one-tonne dumpers up to a 20-tonne digger and low-loader.
Customers can include anyone from individual farmers and builders to major contracting firms.
Since opening in August, ATJ’s services have already been in demand locally.
“We’ve supplied dumpers to the Grange development,” Guy says. “At some point, they all need extra machines, so they can come to the likes of us.”