Our History Hero

Our History

Hawkins owes its name to Fred T. Hawkins, a builder and true kiwi entrepreneur. From small beginnings in Fred's Hamilton garage, Hawkins has seen healthy growth over six decades.

In 1951 the Hamilton-based company listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (now NZX) and over the next four decades grew an ever-widening client and regional base.

 By 1979 Hawkins had regional offices in Central North Island, Auckland, Taranaki, Wellington and Christchurch.

In 1983 privately owned engineering and construction business, McConnell Dowell merged with Hawkins Holdings Limited and Hawkins continued trading as part of McConnell Dowell Corporation. Through this merger Hawkins developed considerable experience in international contracting, through McConnell Dowell’s broad international operational base. Hawkins provided management and supervisory resources for projects in Guam, Hawaii, Saudi Arabia and the Pacific.

 To respond more effectively to the changing demands of the construction industry Hawkins established its head office in Auckland in 1988.

In 1994 following McConnell Dowell's decision to return to its core civil business, Hawkins was sold back into private ownership.

In 1996 the McConnell Family invested in 50% of the Hawkins business and by 2002 had purchased 100% shareholding.

 The McConnell Family

The McConnell family has a strong heritage in supporting the growth and development of construction, infrastructure and property enterprises in New Zealand and offshore.

McConnell Group was established in 1993 by the late Malcolm McConnell following the sale of the family’s shareholding in McConnell Dowell*.

David McConnell is Managing Director of McConnell Group and John McConnell Executive Director. Nancy McConnell works for Hawkins Group.

Click here to visit the McConnell Group website.

At the same time that Malcolm McConnell focused on the development of McConnell Dowell and building business opportunities for New Zealand globally, wife Beverley also had a dream which they shared together

– to develop a garden, "Ayrlies". More than forty years later Ayrlies is now recognised as a ‘garden of national and international significance’ and in 2010 Beverley was awarded a Queen Services Medal (QSM) for her services to horticulture. The McConnell family provides financial support for the continuing development of Ayrlies. They are also philanthropically supportive of a variety of organisations across the community.


*Malcolm McConnell and Jim Dowell established McConnell Dowell in 1960 and built this business into a leading international construction company; Malcolm was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his services towards the export of engineering and New Zealand business. The McConnell family is no longer involved in the ownership or management of McConnell Dowell.


  • 1946

    Fred Hawkins founds FT Hawkins Ltd in Waikato.

  • 1950s

    The first of many NZ Dairy Co Operative projects which were integral to the growth of the company.

  • 1951

    Hawkins Holdings Ltd listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange -an umbrella company for FT Hawkins Ltd, Steelfab Ltd and Melville Properties Ltd.

  • 1962

    Fred Hawkins leaves FT Hawkins Ltd.

  • 1963

    Name changed to Hawkins Construction.

  • 1972

    Branched out into Auckland; built the Human Sciences building at Auckland University – this $8 million dollar project was the largest construction project in Auckland at the time.

  • 1979

    Hawkins sets up regional offices in Central North Island, Auckland, Taranaki, Wellington and Christchurch.

  • 1980s

    Hawkins’ emphasis moved from self-performing to subcontracting.

  • 1980

    a new subsidiary Hawkins Development was established; this later became a leading property development company in Auckland.

  • 1982

    McConnell Dowell merges with Hawkins Holdings Ltd in a reverse takeover.

  • 1986

    Hawkins head office relocates to Auckland.

  • 1988

    First of the many Auckland International Airport projects.

  • 1990

    Hawkins Construction builds the Robert Jones Tower in Auckland, the tallest building in New Zealand at the time.

  • 1994

    Hawkins sold to Martin Hansen and Associates.

  • 1996

    McConnell family reinvest in Hawkins and by 2000 have a 100% shareholding.

  • 2007

    Hawkins Infrastructure was formed.

  • 2012

    Harker Underground Construction becomes part of Hawkins Group.

  • 2017

    Harker Underground Ltd is sold to Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure and the Harker family.