Lunds Joinery History

Our History

Lunds Joinery has been kicking up sawdust at Grants Road in Timaru for several decades; initially as a part of C Lund & Son Ltd and now as a standalone company.

C Lund & Son Ltd was established by Ray Lund as a limited liability company in 1956, but the Lunds were involved in the building industry well before that.

It all started with Walter Lund, who immigrated to New Zealand from Denmark in 1875. The grandson of a carpenter and shipwright, Walter landed in Napier and travelled south to Canterbury where he went into business as a carpenter and bridge builder.

Walter’s son, Charles Lund, followed in his father’s footsteps, entering the building trade as an apprentice in Pleasant Point. He went on to become a respected builder in Timaru with a reputation for being able to do complex calculations in his head. His advertising slogan was ‘C. Lund — the Conscientious Builder’.

Charles and his wife Barbara had six children and their only son, Ray Lund, eventually took over.

Ray incorporated the family business as a limited liability company in 1956, deciding on the name C Lund & Son Ltd to build on his father’s reputation. His sisters were involved too, particularly Thora Lund who kept the company’s books for 60 years. Thora was still working there in the 1960s when Ray’s son, Bruce Lund, took the helm alongside Charlie Kenny, a business partner of Ray’s who had joined the company after the war and become a shareholder.

Bruce had already been working for the company since his 18th birthday in 1956, when just a dozen staff worked out of the company’s original joinery shop in Church Street. He remembers a big motor in the roof space, from which the men connected belts made from buffalo hide to various joinery machines. Later on, by the time they’d moved to Grants Road, every item of plant had its own electric motor.

Charlie’s outstanding abilities as a self-taught quantity and land surveyor, despite having left school at just 13, eventually helped C Lund & Son Ltd pursue larger and larger contracts, including many with the Ministry of Works. Their first structural job was for a showroom and workshop for Andrews and Bevan, a machinery sales company, in 1949. The showroom block was two stories with concrete gables. “A terrific amount of hard work went on there,” said Charlie Kenney in an interview before he died in 2016. To be continued…

Our History, Continued…

“Before we had cranes, we used to shift the concrete up to the second floor with a winch – two poles with a pulley through and a platform. There were no excavators [either]. Bulldozers levelled your site and [you’d] dig by hand for the footing.”

Charlie and Bruce completed many other successful projects throughout the South Island, including the new chief post office for Nelson (now Civic House), the former Christchurch law courts and the Clinical Services Building at Timaru Hospital – a significant contract that Charlie priced while staying at his bach at Lake Alexandrina.

By the late 1960s, the company had 50 staff and multiple cranes. Joiners were still an integral part of the business. Those who worked in the Grants Road factory at the time remember stacks of timber from the West Coast drying out in the open and using solid rimu to craft furniture, windows and doors and preparing solid timber materials for a lot of state houses. Everything was done by hand.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that power tools were introduced and melamine and particle board burst onto the joinery scene. Then came the computer revolution, says Bruce, where now you can “draw everything on a computer and press a button”.

Bruce’s daughter, Joanne Macgregor (nee Lund), and her husband, Andrew Macgregor, took over the family business in 1993, by which time it had grown to about 110 staff. Together they manage some of New Zealand’s largest commercial construction projects from the company’s Christchurch office.

Meanwhile in Timaru, Jamie is embracing the old with the new when it comes to Lunds Joinery, pairing traditional craftsmanship with commercial workflows to deliver high quality joinery work on time and at scale.

“I’m really proud of my family,” he says. “Each generation has had a different focus and I’m benefiting hugely from the culture and ethics that my grandfather installed in the business — and my Mum and Dad as well. We are the custodians of a craft and it’s incredible to look back and reflect on the gains made in each generation.”

Jamie says his experiences as a civil engineer have given him valuable knowledge of the modern construction environment, where things like 3D drafting and CNC machining are the norm.

It’s a far cry from the days Jamie’s great-grandfather and grandfather used to write “cutting lists” for building projects on offcuts of wood, but he’s happy to report that some of their old machines are still used for dressing or preparing solid timber now and then.