Timeline

BUILDING SINCE 1939

BREEN Construction has grown from its roots as a well-respected local contractor to a leading Construction Company, serving clients from around New Zealand and the World.

Now in our 8th decade, with the company being run by forth generation siblings, the business continues to place emphasis on the same values that provided its foundations back in 1939 – Genuine builders who understand the construction process at a deeper level.

Our core construction business is geared to creating individual, innovative and dynamic building environments and solutions for customers, ranging from property developers to end-users, government and local bodies and diverse public sector agencies.

The BEGINNING

1935

L.J. (Jim) Breen began contracting on his own account in Invercargill in 1935, his first contract being a joinery factory for G.A. McEwan. C.F. (Charlie) Breen joined Jim in 1936 for the Kew Kindergarten job. George Brockett also joined him and the partnership of Breen and Brockett was formed. Jim and his brothers Charlie and N.F. (Norman) contracted all over Southland and Central Otago. They built the Queenstown Post Office in 1937

THE BREEN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY

1939

The Breen Construction Company Limited was incorporated in Invercargill on 30 August 1939. Jim Breen being the Managing Director, and Jack Breen (the boys Dad) and E.J. Breen (Jim's wife) the minor shareholders. Charlie and Norman both became shareholders in 1940.

St Gerard’s new primary school

1945

Built by L. J. Breen prior to C. F. and N.F. Breen returning home from the Second World War. Photo c.1948; John Breen is one of the wee fellows sitting at the bottom left.

CARRUTH ESTABLISHMENT

1946

Jim set up in Omakau, buying out builder Tom Carruth. The former Carruth establishment became the Breen headquarters. Charlie and Norman both became directors of the company in 1946.

Charlie Breen’s blueprint

1950

For Tom and Peg Cooney’s Dunstan Road residence built in Central Otago. Iron roof, timber frame, wood floor and mud brick veneer.

CIVIL WORKS

1960

BREEN Construction diversified into civil works with the first project being a contract to build the Alexandra sewage works.

Alexandra Centennial Pool

1961

The pool walls were ‘tilt-slab’ constructed on the pool floor which was a ‘first’. They were lifted into place with a converted Tea Ferguson farm tractor.  Charlie Breen did the building and J.D. Watt was the engineer.

Tiger Hill overbridge

1964

Placing falsework for the concrete deck. The concrete was weight-batched on the site using Anderson one-bag concrete mixers and placed with the Tea.

Molyneux Park Stadium

1973

Charlie Breen ran the project, Syd McEwan was the foreman and John Breen was the Quantity Surveyor. Wall panel erection is under way. Note the Tea Ferguson still in action - it wasn’t retired until 1983.

Alexandra Post Office

1976

The building was opened by Central Otago MP Warren Cooper on 21 February 1977.  It is arguably our finest building, complementing the unique local landscape as nicely as it does. A credit to architects Mccoy & Wixon who were the designers. This was local stonemason Bill Grant’s first job.

Cromwell reservoir under construction

1977

Another Charlie Breen and Syd McEwan effort. The wall and roof units were supplied by a precast sub-contractor. In 1970, on the bridge hill reservoir, Charlie Breen precast his own units on the site. Breen Construction bought a new crane in 1978, and one way or another it remained in our hands until 2011.

CENTRAL OTAGO DISTRICT COUNCIL HEADQUARTERS

1980

Prime Minister Rob Muldoon officially opening the new Ministry of Works and Development Regional Offices on 5th February 1981 in Central Otago. John Breen far right. Bruce Sutherland was the foreman. Known as the William Fraser building, the complex is now the Central Otago District Council headquarters building built by Breen.

The Lake Onslow Dam

1981

Was built for the Otago Central Electric Power Board in a single summer season. The crest of the dam is 684 metres above sea level. We camped on site and batched our own concrete. We built the Kowhai Power Station on the same Teviot river in 2009-10.

Coronet Peak Base Facilities

1983

This was constructed by a partnership of Inder Construction and Breen Construction over the two summer seasons of 1982-83 and 1983-84. Bruce Sutherland and Ken Hood were the Foremen and Steven Gregory was the Project Manager. John Blair was the Architect.

Alexandra Police Station

1991

The building was opened 11th March 1992. The big flood of November 1999 missed coming in to this building by a mere 100mm or so. Jeff Golden, Jason Mackie, Colin McDonald and Graeme Bell are the Breen employees in the photograph. Tony Meehan was the Stonemason.

Port Craig viaduct restoration

1999

Fifty days on the trot in the South Coast bush, ending on the shortest day of the year. A John Breen / John Symons / Kerry Eggeling project. The first job John Breen and John Symons did together was the single-mens’ quarters in the just-starting out new village of Haast in 1978.

Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World (Wanaka)

2001

Alistair Sherriff was the Project Manager, Alex Ross / Keith Nesbitt did the building. Tim Bradford was the Engineer.

Molyneux Aquatic Centre

2002

Opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark on 12th April 2003 (Granny Breen helped cut the ribbon). A Lindsay Breen, Graheme Hastie, Keith Nesbitt project. This was BREEN’s second Alexandra pool complex. We got a 200mm snowfall when this complex was under construction.

New Dunstan Hospital

2004

Opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark on 4th November 2005. Graham Johnson was the Project Manager and Geoff Hines the Site Manager. One of BREEN's first jobs in Central Otago was the Cromwell Hospital, built in 1939, when they also built the nurses home - which was demolished to make way for this complex.

Lakeshore Springs Apartments

2008

One of the most recent in a long list of Wanaka Main Street developments, which also includes the imposing Wanaka Library designed by Noel Tapp. This was Alistair Sherriff’s last project (and Kelvin Mulqueen’s first). Alistair died, age 53 on 28th April 2005.

Fish-pass

2008

On the Rangitata diversion race. Another project in the same vicinity was a big Rakaia pumping station structure for Trust Power - Yet another was a run-of-the river hydroelectric installation on a Rakaia tributary stream at Cleardale.

Wanaka Retirement Village

2009

For Presbyterian Support Otago (2009-10). Graham Johnson was the Project Manager and Mike Doherty and Phillip Studholme were the Foremen. BREEN built Alexandra's Ranui Home for the same organization in 1972, which was opened by Prime Minister Norman Kirk on 18th March 1973.

DAIRY SHED

2009

BREEN Construction built their first dairy shed in North Otago.

JASON MAVOR

2010

Jason Mavor became a shareholder in the company.

Alexandra Community House

2012

The Project Manager was Trevor Breen, Site Manager Paul Hucklebridge, Quantity Surveyor Peter Breen, and Foreman Bruce Sutherland. Bruce is second only to Neville Bell in terms of longevity as a Carpenter/Foreman for BREEN. Neville has worked continuously for the company since 1972.

HIGHLANDS MOTORSPORT PARK

2012

The Highlands Motorsport Park Museum was competed. This was the start of a busy association with Highlands Motorsport Park and Tony Quinn - It led into a whole series of important projects associated with its ongoing development. The Project Manager was Paul Hucklebridge and Bruce Sutherland was the Foreman.

PETER AND TREVOR

2013

Peter and Trevor Breen joined brother Lindsay as Directors of the company when John Breen stood down, trusting his sons to carry the company.

MASTER BUILDERS AWARD

2014

The Worthington House on Golden Road, Alexandra, won the National Master Builders Award for Renovation of the Year. The Project Manager was Kelvin Nixon and the Foreman was Dave Cordery.

BREMNER BAY

2014

Giltrap House in Bremner Bay, Wanaka. The Project Manager was Kelvin Mulqueen and the Foreman was Steve Lester.

75TH JUBILEE

2014

The Company celebrated the 75th Anniversary of its incorporation on 30th August 2014.

WANAKA FIRE STATION

2016

The Mason and Wales designed Wanaka Fire Station was built. The Project Manager was Kelvin Mulqueen and the Foreman was Sean O'Conner.

MARIA WILLIAMS

2016

Maria Williams, the only daughter of John and Valmai Breen, became a shareholder in the company.

WHITESTONE CHEESE

2017

Whitestone Cheese Factory upgrade was completed. Dean Linklater was the Project Manager and Lester Robb was the Foreman.

RAIL TRAIL

2018

A total of 65 BREEN people rode and walked the Rail Trail. This was a team event to get staff members together and get them to think differently about their firness and well-being.

NEW DIRECTORS

2019

Breen Construction has increased its Board of Directors to a total of 5, with the appointment of Jason Mavor and Stuart Heal, who join Managing Director Lindsay Breen and brothers Trevor and Peter. Pictured left to right: Jason, Pete, Lindsay and Stuart. Absent: Trevor Breen.