twizel auto ServiceS
Twizel is an interesting little place. A town built in a paddock from scratch in 1968 to house workers on the Upper Waitaki Hydro Electricity scheme and intended to be dismantled and returned to farmland at the conclusion of the project. Located to the west of the main road, SH8, you need to make a point of turning off if you want to go there.
Most of the houses were prefabricated and even the roading was temporary, an unusual quirk of the town being there are no gutters between the footpaths and the streets, instead you will find there is simply tar seal from one side to the other unbroken, with a low point between the path and road surface to serve as a channel for water.
When the hydro project ended there were enough people wanting to stay on that the plan to remove the town from the map was abandoned and Twizel still stands, with a small permanent population and a large number of the houses being holiday homes for people from Christchurch and even further afield.
So, if you were going to open a garage and service station, Twizel would not be the first place to spring to mind. And if you did, you would think that in order to survive you would want to be very visible to passing traffic on the nearby SH8.
Yet Twizel Auto Services, tucked away on the south west corner of town on Ostler Road and not on the beaten track at all, under the new ownership of Nigel and Tara Wills is a booming and expanding business.
Two years ago Nigel and Tara, looking for a change from dairy farming purchased the business from Rex Miller, who had owned it for 25 years and still runs Rex Miller Engineering from the premises today, concentrating on large machinery and welding.
The Wills' had a long-term interest in things mechanical, marine and engineering. Nigel is a qualified Fitter Welder so the opportunity to take on Twizel Auto Services, in the town in which they used to holiday was their ticket away from the grind of dairy farming.
Currently they have a staff of eight and they are in the process of taking on another two mechanics with WoF inspections and light engineering keeping the workshop team very occupied. An in-house auto electrician has meant that they can now offer a full mechanical and electrical repair service both to the locals and any passing travellers who may need assistance.
As the local contact garage for the AA, should you be unfortunate enough