A security guard keeps watch on the closed Mainzeal
construction site at Shed 10, Queens Wharf. Photo/ Michael
Many of Mainzeal's workforce of 400 staff learned about
the collapse of the company on Waitangi Day through the media.
"It was a bit of an unusual way to find out. Especially when
it's three days before payday," one Christchurch employee
About 190 employees attended a sombre and emotional meeting
with receivers in Christchurch at midday yesterday, one of
several meetings across the country.
It was a similar story in Auckland - employees turning up for
work at Shed 10 on Queens Wharf and the Hobson Gardens
apartments in central Auckland were confused and upset at the
loss of their jobs.
Said one employee in Christchurch: "My general manager got up
at the start and gave a talk. He was like, 'I'm not going to
do it off notes, I'll do it from the heart. Because a lot of
you are my friends'."
Employees asked whether they would get paid in three days'
"They [the receivers] don't know at this stage, until they
know what money is there for wages ... people were asking,
'how do I pay my mortgage?'
We've all been told to keep our phones on, and I suppose hope
Telecom don't turn them off."
Other workers asked whether the director's assets would be
The man said he felt most sorry for the overseas workers who
had brought their families with them to settle in New
Yesterday, security guards were posted outside the work
entrance of Shed 10 on Queens Wharf, where the company had
been doing a $14 million upgrade since September.
Work on refurbishing the old cargo shed into a cruise ship
terminal and events space was well advanced and due for
completion on April 17.
Yesterday morning, a small group of people, including
Mainzeal project manager Greg Ford and Beca engineer Ron
Holbrook, toured the site. Two Mainzeal staff were observed
photographing materials and writing an inventory below a
large banner that read: "Mainzeal - Building Certainty".
The stop to work did not prevent Shed 10 being used to
disembark passengers from the cruise ship Amsterdam, which
berthed at Queens Wharf on Wednesday.
Another Auckland Council project affected by the receivership
is a new $5.1 million library at Oneroa on Waiheke Island.
Mainzeal started the project in August and has completed
earthworks and foundations. The library was due for
completion in September.
Waiheke Local Board chairwoman Faye Storer said it had taken
10 years - three different councils, three different mayors,
budget cuts and discussions about the location - to get a new
library for the island.
However, she was confident the new library would be
"We are very disappointed for ourselves and the library
project, but also for Mainzeal which has been a household
name in New Zealand," she said.
Yesterday there was no answer at the Epsom home of Richard
Yan, the sole director of Mainzeal Property and Construction,
and the founder and head of the Richina Group, owner of the
The Richina Group owns a multi-million-dollar vineyard on
The Te Motu Vineyard and its associated restaurant sit on
11.4 sheltered hectares in the Onetangi Valley.
The vineyard's website says that in 2011 Te Motu Vineyard was
purchased by Richina Inc.
- Nicholas Jones and Bernard Orsman