Our History

Founding Culham Engineering in 1958, Dave Culham played an important role in directing the Company up until his passing in 2012.

The Company has a proud work history and was involved in some major contracts in its formative years.

Presented with the opportunity to start his own business in 1958, Dave secured a £400 guarantee from his father, bought a welder, put it in the trunk of his Vauxhall car and thus began Culham Engineering. In 1959 he moved from the boot of his car to premises in Port Road.

Recognising a need to have tradesmen with a wide range of skills, Dave made a commitment to train apprentices. With the expansion at Refining NZ on the horizon, Dave saw that there would be a huge loss of staff and a requirement for skilled tradesmen so he increased the intake of apprentices to meet the demand for skilled staff. Since then Culham Engineering has produced over 600 qualified tradesmen. Many of these are still employed at Culham Engineering.

One of Culham’s first major successful projects was the construction development of the Moerewa Freezing Works in Northland, New Zealand in 1962. The completion of this project established Culham’s reputation in engineering excellence based on the quality and workmanship of the job.

Culham’s has been the principal ‘in house’ mechanical contractor for Refining NZ since 1962. We have also carried out work for Refining NZ during its expansion. Projects included construction of New Zealand’s first only Greenfield Refinery, installation of four hydrocarbon pipelines along the refinery jetty, construction and installation of an extension cone to the refinery’s main flue, hydrocracker feedstock piping and tankage project, overhauling of equipment, heat exchangers, pressure vessels and air coolers


Some of the earlier major contracts Culham’s have been involved in are:

1964                        Marsden Point Oil Fired Power Station

1974                        Air New Zealand Terminal – Hanger Construction

1976                        Silos For Portland Cement Company Northland

1979                        Whau Valley Water Dam, Northland-New Zealand – Tunnel Construction

1988                       Northland Dairy Company – Structural Buildings and Infrastructure

1994                        Methanex Methanol Plant – 3 x storage tank,  construction

1998                       ANZAC Frigate Project – Hull module construction