Contributor: Murray Smith
Date: 6 June 2010
When Don Airey resigned his position as Borough Engineer in Pukekohe in 1965, he joined with a local surveyor, Bill Birch (later Sir William Birch) as the engineer in the predominantly surveying practice of DN Boak and Partners which at that time worked from offices at Takapuna, Orewa, Howick, Te Aroha and Pukekohe. Shortly afterwards he employed Lynne Lawrie as a Draughtswoman in the Pukekohe office and Murray Smith as an Engineer located in Takapuna and at offices of then Hopper Bros Ltd.
A few years later the partners in DN Boak & Partners decided that they would separate their own offices into individual partnerships, and consequently the partnership of Birch & Airey was formed at the Pukekohe Office. In 1972 when Bill Birch was elected to Parliament, Don Airey decided to separate his relationship from Birch & Airey and formed a purely engineering firm of DC Airey & Partners. In the years that followed, Don was joined by Russell Watt - an engineer at the Pukekohe Office, and Tony Corbett who was based with Easdale and Partners (Surveyors) in their Howick office. Murray Smith had already relocated back to Takapuna and Rex Dawson continued working with Hopper Bros at Whangaparaoa.
Over that period of time a number of new clients engaged the services of an ever expanding Aireys team for large projects in particular the Pauanui Ocean Beach Resorts project on the eastern Coromandel Coast, and the Three Guys Supermarkets around the Auckland and Waikato area. When Consulting Engineers were permitted to form Limited Liability companies, in 1984 DC Airey and Partners was incorporated into Airey Consultants Ltd. Much of the work of Airey Consultants over those years related to land development work which was undertaken in association with the survey firms, engineering for Local Authority projects and structural engineering for a range of Architects.
In October 1989 Roger Twiname who had previously been working at Takapuna since 1983 primarily as a Structural Engineer together with Ian Gibson at the Howick Office were appointed Directors. Michael Lee who joined Airey Consultants in Takapuna in 1990 was appointed a Director at Takapuna. in 1997.
In 1992 the first of the major canal housing projects with which Airey Consultants was associated with as Consulting Engineers was started at Pauanui for Pauanui Waterways with Murray Smith as Project Engineer reporting to the next generation of the Hopper family, Leigh Hopper as Managing Director of Hopper Developments. This was followed with another canal housing project at Whitianga and as that project progressed an office was opened at Whitianga with Wayne Collier appointed as the site engineer but with the down turn in the economy in 2008 and the slowing of development in the area the office was closed in 2009. The work as Project Engineer for Whitianga was taken over in 2008 from Murray Smith by James Greenwood working from the Orewa Office which had been established in 1996 with Peter Kibblewhite as the manager. As James was already working closely with the Hopper team he was appointed the Project Engineer for the next canal housing project at Marsden Cove adjacent to the Whangarei Harbour.
In 2004 James Greenwood (Orewa) , Mike Williams (Pukekohe) and Dave McKenzie (Howick) were appointed as Directors.
In 1995, Airey Consultants Ltd were engaged as Consulting Engineers for a development at Queenstown known as Remarkables Park. This project covers an area of 150 ha, located on the south side of Queenstown Airport and has been an ongoing development which has included new roading through the airport and a new intersection on SH6 for access to the airport and Remarkables Park. To support this project an office was established in Remarkables Park in 2006. In the 15 years of this project Murray Smith and Andrew Sims, who have been much involved with the client \, Alastair Porter, in the planning of Remarkables Park development, have commuted by air up and down to Queenstown on a monthly basis. For the periods of construction daily contact was kept with the contractors by John Watts, a retired Consulting Engineer based in Queenstown. An Engineer from the Howick office, Justin Ralston was appointed as Engineer to manage the office in 2010.
Don Airey retired from the Company in 1995 but unfortunately after only a few years of retirement died while playing one of his favourite sports, that of Golf. Russell Watt retired from the Company in 2002 and Murray Smith retired as a Director in 2009 but has continued working part time as a Project Manager.
Over the 45 years that Airey Consultants have been Consulting Engineers, they have enjoyed a long working relationship with the Hopper family for the canal housing and other development projects and also with the Porter family for the projects at Queenstown. Over the 45 years Airey Consultants, with the support of their ever increasing staff some of whom have been with Company for over 25 years have continue working on multiple projects with their many valued clients.
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