NZ Wallboards Ltd

Date established
Date closed
Time Line NZ Wallboards 1925 - 1970

Sucessor: Winstone Wallboards Ltd

1925 Builders Composite Materials Ltd established in Auckland to
manufacture plaster wallboard (by Mr Harold Hitchon) using technology and raw materials from the US.

1927 Name change from Builders Composite Materials Ltd to
NZ Wallboards Ltd, share capital was increased, a new factory was built in Balmoral Road, Mt Eden and Winstone Limited was appointed distributing agents on the understanding they would purchase entire factory output.

In its first year of production the new factory produced 1,000,000 square feet of wallboard.

1928 Winstone Limited became a shareholder.

Mr OK Winstone visited the United States to investigate updated production methods. He arranged with the Gypsum Company to supply the new Mount Eden factory with the latest machinery.

1930 Pumice was incorporated in the manufacture in place of the
previously used sawdust.

Winstone Limited purchased the majority shareholders of NZ Wallboards Ltd

The factory output was 5,000,000 of wallboard

1931 New plant installed, mechanisation, technical advice and
assistance received from US Gypsum Ltd. The product name was changed to Gilbraltar Board.

1936 Victor Plasters Ltd (associate company of Winstone Ltd) established
as a joint venture with Australian firm. Victor Plasters Ltd took over the supply of plaster in place of that previously imported from Australia and American sources (first tryout of new plaster resulted in jammed mixer & three hour stop to repair)

Victor Plasters Ltd mill was established in Auckland

1939 It was decided to use paper from a New Zealand company,
Whakatane Board Mills Ltd, instead of the previously imported
USA paper.

Visit by Prime Minister MJ Savage to factory

1942 Paying out the first production bonus, 3 shillings for each man

1946 Lower Hutt factory opened (all machinery used was planned
and produced in New Zealand)

1944 Production speed stepped up to 37ft per minute

1947 Factory closed for three hours when Viscount Montgomery
visited Auckland

1951 Installation of continuous drying machine at Mt Eden factory,
and later in Lower Hutt plant. The pumice used was from the Waikato district, and the Lower Hutt factory was supplied from the Wanganui district. The gypsum plaster was supplied by Victor Plasters Ltd

1955 Visit to factory by Governor General, Sir Willoughby Norrie

1958 A quality control laboratory established in Auckland. At the
same time bulk plaster handling and automatic weighing equipment were introduced as an aid to greater accuracy in proportioning of the various ingredients.

1961 The Gibraltor Board plant established in Christchurch.

Annual output 72,000,000 sq ft

Mr Harold Hitchon retires as Managing Director (33 years with the company, retains position as Company Secretary and a Director)

1962 Victor Plasters Ltd established in Christchurch (along side the
Gilbrator plant)

Training School for tradesmen to become competant in fixing and stopping Gibraltar Board

1966 New plaster mill built for Victor Plasters Ltd, Felix Street, Te

1971 New wallboard factory built for NZ Wallboards, Felix Street,
Papapa, Auckland, adjacent to Victor Plasters Ltd. The plant was opened by Prime Minister Sir Keith Holyoake, October 1971
The new factory will produce Gibraltar Board in a continuos electronically-controlled process, with an ultimate capacity of 120-130 million feet of board a year. Only 12% of the entire plant was of imported material, the remaining 88% was made by local engineering firms.

Name change to Winstone Wallboards Ltd. The “change was made to express more clearly the wallboards company’s position as a fully-owned subsidiary and sole manufacturer of Winstone’s Gibraltar Board and its associated products, such as Gib-Tile, Gib-Panel, Gib-Wall, Gib-Vinyl and other systems” (Winstone News December 1991, p9)