Author(s): Paul Goldsmith
Most of New Zealand's great business icons of the twentieth century have withered, disappeared or been swallowed by other firms. But a century after James Fletcher began his work in Dunedin, in 1909, Fletcher Building continues to perform as one of New Zealand's largest and most trusted companies, with a significant international presence. This book tells the story of how Fletcher, in its many manifestations over the decades, has transformed New Zealand's built environment by constructing such renowned structures as the Auckland University Clock Tower and the Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa. Equally, the company has helped shaped the country's economic development by creating efficiencies of scale in construction and building materials, and by pioneering many new industries. This is a centennial history that sets the company's history in the broadest political and economic context. It traces the many dilemmas its leaders faced as they searched for growth and responded to the relentless challenges of business: slumps, credit squeezes, marauding governments and asset strippers, capricious policy makers, demanding customers, internal arguments, fleet-footed new competitors and changing investor attitudes. It is one of New Zealand's greatest stories of sustained ambition, performance, reinvention and, ultimately, business survival.