Happy 21st birth­day COMAG

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

COMAG has evolved from Bruce Ma­gan Ltd, which founder Bruce Ma­gan be­gan in Septem­ber 1967.

In the early days, Mata­mata man Bruce Ma­gan ran a small op­er­a­tion of about five peo­ple un­til the com­pany be­came in­volved in roof­ing, plumb­ing and drainage work on sev­eral ho­tels around the up­per North Is­land for Do­min­ion Brew­eries, in con­junc­tion with Stan­ley Con­struc­tion Ltd.

This was a turn­ing point in the com­pany’s oper­a­tions in that they widened their base to cover com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial work in ad­di­tion to the pre­dom­i­nantly do­mes­tic work they had been in­volved in.

A steady growth took place in the 1970s and 1980s un­til the land­slide of 1987, which al­most put the com­pany out of busi­ness with four ma­jor debtors fall­ing

over. Lit­tle hap­pened apart from sur­vival un­til 1992 when the large re­ces­sion started to ease. By that time Bruce Ma­gan had been hold­ing dis­cus­sions be­tween five other long term em­ploy­ees with a view to set­ting the com­pany up as a co-op.

COMAG com­menced op­er­a­tion on July 4, 1994, com­pris­ing six di­rec­tors be­ing Bruce Ma­gan, Bill O’Dwyer, Allan Price, Ross Fisher, Tony Wright and Kevin Dare, with Allan Walker com­ing on board as a di­rec­tor in April 1995. Other staff at the time were Rene Thom­son, Wayne Swet­man, Stacey Jack­son, Brad Wil­son, Mark Tem­pelmeyer and Peter Nelmes.

To­day four of these staff – Allan Price, Rene Thom­son, Stacey Jack­son and Kevin Dare – still work for COMAG.

The 21st birth­day cel­e­bra­tions have been a dummy run for the com­pany’s next party, cel­e­brat­ing 50 years since Bruce Ma­gan Ltd be­gan. This will take place in 2017.

To­day COMAG have a com­pli­ment of 38 full­time staff

with nine di­rec­tors. Staff are a com­bi­na­tion of di­rec­tors, drain­lay­ers, roofers, plum­bers, gas­fit­ters and ad­min­is­tra­tion, who all spe­cialise in their par­tic­u­lar skills.

The com­pany is sup­ported by a good net­work of sub­con­trac­tors and sup­pli­ers, a num­ber of which have sup­ported this birth­day fea­ture.

‘‘Not only have we formed great work­ing re­la­tion­ships, but also some life­time mates and friend­ships. With­out you guys we wouldn’t have had the suc­cess or work­ing num­bers we have at present,’’ Kevin said at the busi­ness’ birth­day party.

Kevin says COMAG isn’t just about one per­son. ‘‘We’re a team.’’

COMAG are deeply in­volved in the train­ing of ap­pren­tices and trainees in all of the skills of­fered by the com­pany.

Kevin says the com­pany is ‘‘huge’’ on train­ing. It’s some­thing he and COMAG are very pas­sion­ate about.

Kevin isn’t sure of the num­ber of ap­pren­tices over the years, but he has been told by the train­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion COMAG use, the com­pany has had 155 ap­pren­tices gain a na­tional cer­tifi­cate in plumb­ing, gas­fit­ting, drain­lay­ing and roof­ing since the early 90s. This doesn’t in­clude the 14 trainees the com­pany cur­rently em­ploy. ‘‘That’s not a bad ef­fort in 21 years.’’

In fact, most of the cur­rent di­rec­tors have started as ap­pren­tices with the com­pany. Some have gone off and had an OE, which is not dis­cour­aged, and then come back to work for COMAG.

COMAG ac­cept they can’t op­er­ate a com­pany of their size by work­ing lo­cally. With this in mind they’ve de­vel­oped a strong cul­ture of trav­el­ling and work­ing out­side the com­pany’s im­me­di­ate area. The busi­ness has worked in all parts of the coun­try.

How­ever, COMAG have a strong com­mit­ment to the needs of the Mata­mata com­mu­nity. Spon­sor­ship and com­mu­nity do­na­tions are a high pri­or­ity for COMAG, cov­er­ing all sports in­clud­ing football, rugby, net­ball, bowls, bridge, golf and rac­ing.

‘‘You name it, a lo­cal sport­ing club or char­ity and we have more than likely spon­sored or do­nated to it. We help out where we can,’’ Kevin says.

In fact, con­tribut­ing and get­ting in­volved with the Mata­mata com­mu­nity is part of the com­pany’s con­sti­tu­tion.

A cou­ple of the com­pany’s favourite char­i­ties have been Pohlen Hos­pi­tal and the Mata­mata Col­lege first XV. COMAG have been a spon­sor of the col­lege rugby team for the past 18 years.

COMAG have been in­volved in a num­ber of ex­cit­ing projects over the years. Of note, the com­pany did all the plumb­ing on Cam­bridge’s Avan­tidrome and helped re­buildMt Ruapehu’s award-win­ning Knoll Ridge Cafe.

Lo­cally, the busi­ness has been in­volved in Kaimai Cheese’s orig­i­nal build and ex­pan­sion and re­cently did the roof­ing and plumb­ing for the new Evolve gym.

Kevin says it’s a plea­sure for COMAG to help lo­cal busi­nesses with their new builds or ren­o­va­tions.

‘‘It’s al­ways good to see them go into their homes happy.’’


The COMAG team cel­e­brated the com­pany’s 21st birth­day ear­lier this month.


COMAG have been spon­sors of the Mata­mata Col­lege first XV for 18 years.

COMAG have worked on a num­ber of big projects over the years, in­clud­ing Cam­bridge’s Avan­tidrome.


The COMAG build­ing has been on Comber St since day one.

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