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History of Hugh Green Group

(Formerly known as Green & McCahill Group)

The Hugh Green Group evolved from the Green & McCahill Group of companies. The Group is comprised of a number of privately owned companies which develop and sell residential sections, retain Commercial and Retail property for lease, and farm large tracks of land in the Auckland and Waikato region. Other operations include a finance company, livestock saleyards and a quarry.

The strength of the Hugh Green Group can be traced back over 60 years. In 1949 Hugh Green left his native Ireland at the age of 17 and worked in Scotland and England before moving to Australia where he met Barney McCahill, a fellow Irishman in his early twenties. They formed the Donegal Construction Company with two other Irishmen and, from 1950 to 1952, worked in Melbourne laying watermains for the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works.

In 1952, Hugh and Barney arrived in Wellington, New Zealand as a first step on a journey home to Ireland where they formed a new partnership that recruited a gang of Irishmen to lay cables for the Post and Telegraph Department. In 1953, they moved to Auckland and formed Green & McCahill (Contractors) Limited, the first of the fifty plus companies that became renowned as Green & McCahill Group of companies.


The 1950's saw the formation of the Auckland Metropolitan Drainage Board and the North Shore Drainage Board, and for 10 to 15 years these local bodies let a succession of contracts for pipe-laying (in trenches, in tunnels, and over the ground). Green & McCahill (Contractors) Limited made major contributions to these contracts, particularly in tunnelling work and the more difficult trenching work in rock and soft earth. Towards the end of the decade the firm had acquired earthmoving equipment and had begun constructing subdivisions on a contract basis.

The first major roading job was the Hamilton arterial route for the Ministry of Works carried out in 1960-1961.


The next 20 years was the heyday of earthmoving in New Zealand, and Green & McCahill made a name for itself all over the country. In the 1980’s "think big" projects dominated the New Zealand construction industry and Green & McCahill adapted itself accordingly to the new challenges.

The company was widely known for its part in such major works as Marsden Point, the New Zealand Steel Mill in Glenbrook, the Te Marua storage lakes near Wellington, and the restoration of the collapsed Ruahihi Hydro Scheme.

The Group’s founder, Hugh Green, had a passion for cattle dealing and farming resulting in the acquisition of farmland since the 1970's.

For around 25 years the Group also held significant interests in a number of public companies such as Hellaby Holdings Limited (takeover by Bapcor in 2017), Turners Automotive Group Limited (formerly Dorchester Pacific Limited and divested in 2017) and AFFCO Holdings Limited (divested in 2010).


The Hugh Green Group has maintained an interest in engineering construction through the staged development year on year of residential subdivisions throughout the wider Auckland area as well as Tauranga.

In addition the Group owns and develops purpose built industrial warehousing and offices for lease on its industrial land at Wiri. Developments have been completed for Penske Commercial Vehicles NZ, Owens Transport, Thermo King, Cummins Engine Company and UD Trucks. The Group also has Childcare and Retail Centres in Flat Bush, Manukau, and a Palmers Planet and Retail Centre in Pinehill, Albany.

The Hugh Green Foundation was established in 1998, to be the vehicle for Hugh's charitable giving which started as early as 1968. Hugh had quietly given away a lot of money throughout his life to those less fortunate than himself.


The Foundation was formed in Hugh's later years to formalise his donation process and to encourage other businesses to do the same.

If the success of the Hugh Green Group over the years could be put down to anything it must be its philosophy and ability to evolve with the times. This philosophy is what drives the Group today.

The Group prides itself in keeping abreast of, and adapting to, changes in the country and the market.

With one eye on the future and both feet firmly grounded in the present, the Hugh Green Group is set to maintain its position at the forefront of private enterprise in New Zealand.

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