twizel auto Ser­viceS

NZ Today - - TALKBACK -

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

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