The Fletcher Trust, which is the guardian and manager of the Archives, was established by Sir James Fletcher in 1980.
Fletchers as a business enterprise had its beginnings in 1908, when James Fletcher (the father of the founder of the Trust), arrived in Dunedin from Scotland with twelve pounds in capital. In 1909 he and a partner won a contract to construct a house outside Dunedin (refurbished and retained as a Trust property). Two brothers and other family members then joined James and formed Fletcher Bros.
From there the business expanded as Fletcher Construction Company to build many of the major buildings constructed pre-World War II throughout New Zealand, as well as being the driver behind State Housing. In addition, Fletchers bought into businesses that manufactured building materials, such as timber, plywood, concrete and brick.
In 1940 Fletcher listed as a public company, Fletcher Holdings, with JC Fletcher, the son of the founder as managing director. James Fletcher relinquished his executive role to become Commissioner of Defence Construction during World War II and was knighted for his services.
In the post-war period, Fletcher Holdings became New Zealand’s leading construction company and a major participant in building materials manufacture, distribution and export. Fletcher’s, with JC Fletcher (who was knighted for his services to industry and the community) as the leader, was also the prime mover and founder shareholder in two new industries – Pacific Steel, the country’s first major steel mill, and Tasman Pulp & Paper Company, for newsprint.
In 1981 Fletcher Holdings and Challenge Corporation (the two major shareholders in Tasman Pulp & Paper) merged to form Fletcher Challenge Ltd. The new company had holdings in construction and building materials, forestry, pulp and paper and energy, initially in New Zealand and then internationally.
In 2000–2001 Fletcher Challenge was dismantled and the individual businesses sold.
As part of the separation the Building Division became a stand-alone publicly listed entity named Fletcher Building Limited.
For information about individual companies represented in the Archives, click here.