Our Story

Scow “Kapua” CW Hawkins

McCallum Bros Limited® is a family-owned company, based in Auckland, which has been operating since 1904.

McCallum Bros Limited®’s history began with the formation of a partnership by William Fraser McCallum and his three brothers in 1904. McCallum Bros Limited® has continued to be a family-run operation with all ownership remaining in New Zealand and within the family.

The partnership began with a small 40-tonne wooden scow “Pakihi” used for coastal trading. More scows were bought for the increased trade in red shingle which was delivered from Pakihi Island to customers within the Auckland Region and Hauraki Plains.

At first, the shingle was loaded onto the scows by shoveling it into wheelbarrows and then pushing these up planks to the hold. This labour intensive method was eventually replaced as quarries were established.


Karamuramu Island in the Hauraki Gulf

Quarrying of red chert started on Pakihi Island in 1906 and continued until 1927 after which the adjacent Karamuramu Island continued production from 1908 and continues to this day. A lone wharf pile off the south-western side of Pakihi Island was the only remnant of the Pakihi quarry still visible from the sea in 2006 (subsequently claimed by the sea).

A series of bucket and grab dredgers extracted alluvial shingle deposits from around Pakihi and Karamuramu Islands prior to the First World War until the 1950s. The remains of these structures are located on the southern tip of Pakihi Island.

Several million cubic meters of material was supplied in this method for regional construction projects.

The first pre-cast concrete piles in Australasia built for the Auckland Harbor Board in 1904 were made with McCallum Bros Limited® shingle.

A significant portion of construction within the region as far North as Wellsford and South to the Hauraki Plains utilised aggregate produced by McCallum Bros Limited®. This was distributed by sea aboard scows and barges, by virtue of the roads being poorly developed and trucks limited in how much they could carry.

Early projects include Grafton Bridge, many of the buildings in Auckland central city prior to the Second World War, the Whenuapai, Hobsonville and Ardmore aerodromes, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Central Rail Station, Power Board building, Newmarket viaduct, Mangere airport control tower and the Huia dam.

Recent projects using McCallum Bros Limited® aggregate include the Sky Tower, motorway infrastructure, Port wharves, and residential housing.

McCallum Bros Limited® red chip can be seen as the sealing for the shoulders of Auckland’s regional motorways and was primarily what the company was known for in the early days.

Many heritage areas continue to use McCallum Bros Limited® aggregate for footpaths and paving in order to preserve the unique character they have and many residents throughout Auckland choose red aggregate for their driveways and paving for that special look.

Quarrying continues today on Karamuramu Island with reserves of rock in excess of several million cubic meters.


Hazel Repton and Samoa dredging red metal at the Southern end of Karamuramu Island (quarry), before she was converted into a sand dredger in the 1950s. (photo TW Collins)

McCallum Bros Limited® started sand extraction prior to the First World War in the Waihou River (Hauraki Plains) using the proven techniques of shovels, planks, and wheelbarrows.

This sand consisted of pumice material derived from the Taupo area and mine tailings washed down from the Karangahake goldfields. Sand was also sourced from Waipu, Pakiri, and Mangawhai.

Scows were replaced by wooden tugs and barges and later, steel vessels. The machinery progressed from barrows to winches, grabs, and cranes, and finally the utilisation of dredge pumps and hydraulic excavators.

Sand extraction in the Waihou River ceased by 1970 as the construction industry demanded higher quality product from the East Coast beaches.


In 2014, Callum and Jan McCallum took full ownership of McCallum Bros Limited® with Callum as Managing Director and Jan managing the finances amongst the Group. Callum represents the fourth generation and Fraser, Nelson and Anna represent the fifth generation of the McCallum family and all have a keen interest in the family businesses.

At present, the family-owned company is involved in the extraction of sand from Pakiri, ocean-going vessel charter, the quarrying of Karamuramu Island, beach replenishment of some of Auckland city’s beach sand the supply and distribution of sand, cement, and aggregates throughout the Auckland Region.

In 2017, Shayne Elstob came back into the fold as Chief Operating Officer of the McCallum Group given his extensive knowledge and experience in the entire McCallum Group of Companies, having previously managed Clevedon Coast Oysters® as well as having been incorporated into the leadership team of McCallum Bros Limited®. After a few years working in the building industry and completing postgraduate study, Shayne is back home, offering a great fresh perspective and direction for the Group.

Mike Haynes remains at the helm of McCallum Bros Limited® as Operations Manager and was the Project Manager of the William Fraser new barge build, one of the biggest steps in our history – a step we would not have been able to take without him. He has recently celebrated his 25th year with us and forms one of the biggest chapters in McCallum Bros Limited®’s and the McCallum Family story. We can’t wait for another 25 years!

We are excited to announce the launch of our new vessel, the “William Fraser”, built with state of the art equipment to ensure minimal environmental impact including the most environmentally friendly, low emission engines available on the market that meets U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final emission standards and minimal environmental impact dredging gear includes “green valves” that ensures scarce sediment plume in alignment with our sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals.

Above: Callum and Jan McCallum, together with Mike (Operations Manager of McCallum Bros Limited® ) and Leeann Haynes, Shayne (Chief Operating Officer of McCallum Group) and Kim Elstob and Rob McCallum (the patriarch of the McCallum Family) with the William Fraser vessel on launch day at Berjaya Dockyard, Miri, Malaysia.

Above: The late John McCallum (senior) on Country Calendar in 2007 talking about the history of McCallum Bros Limited®, in particular, Pakihi and Karamuramu Islands.