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Major milestone magnifies mana – FNR Group

Liki Udam Aug 8

“This has seen great success for FNR as the employees already have a strong connection to the land so by developing close connections also with subcontractors and suppliers, FNR has been able to create a tightknit team that can together, get the job done.”

Manu Burkhardt-Macrae

Far North Roading (FNR) is celebrating ten years in operation. The company is proudly 100 percent maori owned by two local lads Manu Burkhardt-Macrae and Brady Wild.

Brady, whose whanau descends from Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto founded the company with Glen Subritzky. Brady has an extensive civil roading construction background and brings over 30 years of experience.

Manu, a civil engineer by trade and whose whanau descends from the Ngati Kuri and Te Rarawa areas, has over 20 years experience as a civil engineer and in project management. He joined the group four years ago.

Their combined talents and an impressive 50 years of extensive experience in the field, provide great strength and knowledge to the group, which has underpinned many successful contracts in the area for local council and iwi of te hiku o te ika (Northland area).

A diversified civil construction company, FNR comprises three divisions: roading, construction and consulting. FNR Roading undertakes a range of civil and roading works including siteworks, bulk earthworks, concrete works and drainage for projects such as car parks, subdivisions and retaining walls.

FNR Construction delivers a diverse range of construction services to the commercial and education sectors. FNR Consulting provides a variety of professional services such as project conceptualisation and design development, project management, estimating, civil design, basic ground investigations, inspections and topographical surveys.

Combined this means that FNR can offer a complete range of services to clients and deliver their projects from start to finish.

This has seen the group work on a broad range of projects for iwi, local council, Ministry of Education, NZTA and other clients including long-standing contracts for forestry, roads and orchard development to commercial property, subdivisions, drainage and retaining walls to name a few.

Manu says FNR has established a strong record of delivering on the time, cost and quality requirements of its clients. He says that FNR offers one of the largest and most modern fleets of plant and equipment in the north, as well as a highly trained, versatile and experienced workforce based from its depot in Kaitaia. The company is presently involved in a number of high profile projects that Manu says will bring great value to the Far North area and this has enabled many employment opportunities for locals. Manu says that FNR has approximately 100 staff and the majority have direct ties to the Muriwhenua area.

“This has seen great success for FNR as the employees already have a strong connection to the land so by developing close connections also with subcontractors and suppliers, FNR has been able to create a tightknit team that can together, get the job done,” he says.

Manu says that the importance of these connections was highlighted during the Covid-19 lockdowns when FNR was working on the Taipa Area School project for the Ministry of Education. The 18-month project saw the rebuilding of a gymnasium and refurbishment of the main classroom block.

Supply chain holdups meant that FNR had to draw on its relationships to help source the products needed along with looking for alternative products when appropriate.

The company’s project management skills were highlighted as tasks were shifted around to keep the project moving forward. The successful delivery of the project has seen FNR now working on subsequent projects at the school, as well as leading to more Ministry of Education jobs.

Working in a live school environment and the challenges that it brings is not new for the company. It is currently working on a project at Kaitaia College refurbishing the Maori language block.

“Such projects necessitate good communication with the school as well as flexibility and good planning to work in with the school’s needs and requirements to cause less disruption and maintain high levels of health and safety,” says Manu.

Another significant regional project the company is working on is Te Ara Whanui – Kā Uri Unearthed in Awanui.

Owned and operated by Ngāti Kuri it specialises in developing and manufacturing kauri wood products and commissioned high-end kauri products. It is also home to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute waka construction school – Te Tapuwae o te Waka.

FNR is completing the civil and construction works for the project, which includes demolishing a part of the existing building, moving a historic staircase made from an ancient kauri stump, adding on a small extension and completely refurbishing the entire building.

Te Hiku Sports Hub is yet another large local project that FNR will be involved in. The groundwork for this project will be commencing soon.

“We are the only company locally with the capacity to undertake this project so it means we can keep the spend local and this has many flow-on benefits for the community.”

© Waterford Press Ltd 2021

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