The people who work for us make us who we are. Without our people, some of whom have worked with us for 20 or 30 years, we are nothing but a collection of sheds and machinery. Together with our people, we are one of the finest and most respected boat builders in the world.The people for whom we work, our clients, are not simply there to pay the bills: they define the entire essence of the projects we deliver. Without their input, our boats are just floating objects. With the engagement of our customers, our boats are given purpose, focus and life.The people around us – our families, our neighbours, our community – are not there to enable us to work: our work is there to sustain them and enrich their lives. Without the people around us, we are nothing but workers, toiling without vision or purpose. Surrounded by our community, we are family, friends, colleagues, customers. As a group we form a company, an important employer and exporter: an essential institution in the city and nation in which we live.
Tony Harvey is the longest-serving member of the McMullen & Wing team. The Boat Building Supervisor started as an apprentice when the company was relatively young, and since has been an integral part of the development of the company for more than three decades.
“My interest in boats started when I was very young. My parents would take me for holidays at the beach where I would row my father’s dingy all around the bay. This fascination with boats never left me. At the age of 16 my father got me a job at McMullen & Wing as an apprentice boat builder. Well, what a ride it has been. From the day I started I was told to sand a teak cap-rail on a 70ft yacht. I was allowed
to sand but not varnish. That job was for older apprentices.
From those early days I moved on to build many fine boats in Kauri, Mahogany, aluminum, steel and carbon fibre. These included fishing boats, luxury sailing yachts and powerboats. Amongst the new builds we have refitted many boats as well. These boats have come from all around the world and this has let me see how other boat builders put their boats together.
Things have changed a lot over the years from building a 58ft boat, which was the largest aluminum boat built in New Zealand at the time, to the last build being a 45m superyacht. Who would have guessed? Recently we had a disaster, a near-finished 50m superyacht was damaged by fire. We are currently rebuilding the shed so this great ride can continue for many more years.
Whether you are going to work in them, race them or sail them around the world you have to have a passion for them. It’s the same when you build them. There is a team of us at McMullen & Wing that have worked together for 10, 15, 20 years or more.
We all have that passion to build world-class boats.”
Ben Porter has been with McMullen & Wing all his working life. Both personally and professionally, engineering is his life. Working on superyachts gives him the opportunity to pursue this passion to the highest level.
“Engineering has always been a large part of my life. As a very young boy I used to “help” my father in his workshop, building and fixing things on Saturday mornings. I learned to apply my skills on vintage and veteran cars, and around the family farm. All these experiences combined to make engineering the logical career for me, and it was my father who both encouraged and gave me opportunities to follow my passion.McMullen & Wing has also been a part of my life since I was a young boy, where I attended the launching of my grandfather’s newly constructed boat. It was the boating with my family that started the interest in the marine industry, a result of most enjoyable times spent with family and friends on the water. I think back to when I saw the launching of my grandfather’s boat, the excitement and anticipation, and it’s still there today when we launch our new boats.McMullen & Wing is where I started my career in engineering. And it’s where I have worked in, or led teams of some exceptional people for over 20 years. It’s where we have had the opportunity to create custom boats ranging from sports fishers, sailing yachts, exploration styled and high-speed carbon motor yachts.However, although there is a great amount of passion and investment of oneself in what we produce, it’s the people you work with who both challenge you, and bring the best out in you, and it’s the people who make it enjoyable to be at work the next day.”
Tony Knofflock, Joinery Supervisor
“As a kid growing up in Taranaki I began my career building stairs, kitchens and coffins. As a keen yachtie the idea of combining both my work and hobby held great appeal. Due to a lack of boat building yards in Taranaki I made the move to Auckland where my association with McMullen and Wing began. To my great delight the first job I was involved with was helping to build the moulds for the America’s Cup boats NZL 32 and NZL 38. These boats later went on to win the America’s Cup for New Zealand. A memorable start! I quickly moved from hulls to the interior construction department which, over my last 20 years with the yard, has grown in size to meet the expanding needs of the company and its customers. Having worked on a diverse range of yachts and vessels over the years I have had the opportunity to work with a wide range of quality materials, including a variety of indigenous and imported timbers and veneers. I get a great deal of satisfaction in seeing the transformation of our yachts throughout the build process and then watching them go down the slipway for the first time. The variety of people that I meet throughout a build always makes life interesting and there are many entertaining stories to be heard and told. Building “Super yacht quality” enables the company to showcase the kiwi quality of workmanship that the world has come to expect and I continue to be proud to be a part of this.”