Pat Te Amo with Gavin Hartley

Pat TeAmo started work for Wharehine Contractors Ltd in 1966 at the age of 23.

Worked in Wharehine’s Quarry Division until his retirement in December 2011

Now works as a consultant to the company for approximately two (2) days a week keeping a check on the next generation of quarry workers for the company directors.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s Pat worked in a various number of quarries for Wharehine , mostly in the mid north area between Auckland and Whangarei. Mostly these were part time mobile quarry operations inclusive of the extraction and crushing of aggregates for Rodney Districts, TeArai Point and Muriwai Beach Quarry sites. Along with these smaller portable operations Pat was also involved with full time operations in the Rodney Districts, Mount Brame Quarry ( a contract held for 35 years) and the then mainstay quarry of the Wharehine business the fledgeling Whangaripo Quarry near Wellsford (commenced 1955). During these early years Pat had to be a “jack of all trades” from driving old loaders, dumpers and crushing plant, to drilling by hand, subsequent loading of explosives and shot firing, to dismantling and rebuilding numerous types of crushing plant and drill rigs.

Pat proved his many talents early on to his employers and never shied away from any task whatsoever, or left any task undone that needed to be completed by the end of the day.

In the mid 70’s Wharehine had a structural change of shareholding and Pat took on the new role of Quarry Divisions General Manager. During this time Wharehine also purchased the Matakana Quarry near Warkworth, which gave Pat three full time quarries to run.

During the 80’s the Rodney District Council Mount Brame Quarry contract expired and Pat’s attention became totally focused on growing Whangaripo and Matakana Quarries output. Both of these quarries where of exceptionly good quality greywacke rock and produced compliant Transit NZ basecourses, sealing chips and hotmix aggregates. The quarries also produced significant amounts of ready mix concrete aggregates for the Wharehine Ready Mix Division and basecourses for the Contracting and Land Development Divisions.

Pat’s one and only infamous time occured during these years while quarrying the dacite deposit at Baldrock Quarry specifically for white sealing chip for Auckland’s Newmarket Viaduct resurfacing project. An over vigorous amount of explosives lead to a significant amount of fly rock, one of which entered a neighbours house via the newly painted weatherboard exterior. Unfortunately the owners were watching activities at the time and did not appreciate the funny side of the incident. Pat was duly charged and convicted with a civil offence even though the blasting component had been carried out by subcontractors.

Pat continued to oversee reasonable expansion in the company’s northern quarries, Whangaripo and Matakana in the 90’s before a third full time quarry was again added to the mix with the purchase of Yelavich Brothers’ business and the Waitakere City Te Henga Quarry in West Auckland.

During the mid 2000’s at the time of running these three quarries Pat oversaw production rates of around one million tonnes of crushed product per annum and supervised approximately thirty full time staff, including those undertaking overburden removal works. With the exception of drilling and blasting very little if any of these works was subcontracted out and combined with the building of two new crushing plants at the time, Pat was kept a very busy man.

After 4 years in the mid 2000’s at Waitakere and due to the extreme depths of overburden, poor rock to overburden ratio, and royalties wanted by an uncompromising Waitakere City Pat’s recommendation was to sell off the West Auckland quarry and concentrate on the more extensive operator-friendly reserves at Whangaripo and Matakana. The Waitakere quarry was duly sold to Perry Aggregates and by stealth Pat thought he had started his reduction in workload and retirement slow down.
However Wharehine had recently purchased land at Waipu south of Whangarei and Pat was charged with consenting a green-fields quarry on the site some 11 kilometres from the proposed Marsden Port expansion area.

Again at about the same time Holcim NZ had obtained rights to quarry the Millbrook Station property next door to the Wharehine Whangaripo Quarry and after subsequent negogiations a 50/50 joint venture agreement between Holcim and Wharehine formed what is now known as Millbrook Quarry Ltd. Pat was now Wharehine’s representative and operations manager of an asset with over 600 acres of high quality greywacke rock and a clientele including major companies like Fulton Hogan, Works and Allied Concrete.
Combined with Wharehine’s existing supply and delivery contracts all well underway to the ALPURT and Northern Gateway Alliance northern motorway extension projects, there was very little time for Pat and his quarry staff to rest.

Importantly over the most recent years Pat has slowly handed over control to two separate younger quarry managers, again both individuals with a long time association with Wharehine companies, to operate Millbrook and Matakana quarries and at the age of 67 in December 2011, Pat decided to hang up his hard hat and trade it for a few less hours at the rock face.

Pat joined the Wharehine team in 1966, . Pat oversees numerous quarry ventures including existing operational quarries and proposed new quarry developments. Having quarried over a large portion of the upper North Island, Pat and his team now focus on the larger quarries within the Wharehine Group. He has the expertise and profound knowledge of quarrying that has been built up over his long and distinguished career.

A man who loves the outdoors, Pat can be found hands-on and mentoring younger quarry operators, often leading by example as well as passing on his lifetime of experience. He is well known in the Wellsford community, which he serves as an associate member of the Wellsford Volunteer Fire Service.

Pat has been a member of the IOQ for many years and a regular attendee of the Auckland and Northland Branch meetings until a health scare in 2004 reduced his involvement. His commitment to the quarrying fraternity is such that it deserves this citation.

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