Todd Corporation - Heriot Motor Garage
Todd Corporation - Hillman Minx
Todd Motors - Porirua Plant
Todd Corporation - Europa
Todd Corporation - Painting of Kapuni rig
Todd Corporation - Maui Platform


The Todd Corporation has a long history in New Zealand. Its origins can be traced back to the Todd family's first commercial venture in 1884, when young Charles Todd left school to help his father, Charles Snr, set up a fellmongery and wool scour at Heriot, in Central Otago. It was the beginning of a family business that, over several generations, has branched into many sectors, chalked up numerous successes and grown to become one of New Zealand’s most successful companies. The key milestones in the development of the business from its modest beginnings in rural Otago through to the modern-day Todd Corporation are as follows.


Early Years

  • John Todd (1790-1869) established Mill of Keir for wool weaving in Dunblane, Scotland.
  • His fifth son, Charles Todd Snr (1834-1892), emigrated, first to Australia (1854-1867) and then - after returning to Scotland for three years - to Otago, New Zealand, in 1870.
  • Charles Snr’s second son, Charles Todd (1868-1942), was born in Scotland in 1868.
  • Charles Snr managed gold mine batteries in Australia (Daylesford) and New Zealand (Milton, Taupeka and Bendigo) and was mine manager at Bendigo, Otago.



  • Charles Todd Snr established the Heriot Fellmongery in Central Otago in 1884 with his 16 year old son Charles Todd.
  • Charles Todd became a partner in C Todd & Son in 1890 when Charles Snr left to return to the mine at Bendigo, Otago.
  • Charles Snr passed away in 1892 with the business carrying on as a partnership: Todd Bros & Co (incorporated in 1908, transferred to Todd Bros Limited in 1919).
  • The business expanded into stock and station, auctioneering, real estate, frozen meat export, finance, trading grain and wool, and acquisition of a portfolio of farms.
This business was sold to Dalgetys in 1927.
  • The farms were acquired by the government for returned WW II servicemen.


Motor Industry


  • Charles imported the first motor cars into West Otago and established Heriot Motor Garage in 1912 to service them.


  • Sub dealer for Commer trucks, BSA motorcycles and Studebaker and Ford cars 1914.
  • Charles acquired Ford regional distributorship and Ford tractors.
  • Garages expanded throughout Otago and Southland leveraging off stock and station outlets.


  • Todd Motor Company established 1923 under Desmond Todd (1897-1970) as South Island distributor for Wolseley 1922, first national distributor with Gray (lost Ford) in 1922 and Maxwell (later Chrysler) in 1924.
  • North Island dealership network started in 1923 with head office relocated to Wellington in 1924.
  • Oakland (General Motors) distributorship acquired for Wellington region in 1924.
  • Chrysler sole brand by 1925.
  • Distributor for Rootes (Hillman and Humber) in 1931.
  • David Brown tractors franchise acquired in 1945 and sold 1981.
  • Chrysler (Valiant) franchise acquired 1958.
  • Todd Motor Company acquired the Mitsubishi franchise in 1970.


  • Todd Motor Industries established in 1935 to manufacture vehicles under Andrew Todd (1904-1976) at Petone site.
  • Todd Motor Industries expanded to the Todd Park motor vehicle assembly plant in 1975 for cars, commercial and trucks.


  • Todd Motors Corporation (TMC) established as parent company and listed in 1938; privatised in 1956.
  • General Finance joint venture with National Bank in 1980 to finance dealer network and customers. Sold 1987.


  • TMC largest car company by 1980 in NZ with the highest market share of any of Mitsubishi’s markets.
  • Industry exited through TMC sale to Mitsubishi in 1987.




  • Associated Motorists Petrol Company Limited (later Europa) established by Bryan Todd (1902-1987) in 1931 to import and distribute gasoline into New Zealand.
  • Europa sold to BP in 1972 with the last petrol stations sold in 1987.


  • Europa moved upstream as a shareholder in NZ Refining in 1959.
  • Todd Petroleum Mining Ltd (Todd Energy) established in 1955 to move further upstream with the acquisition of 75 petroleum licences in 1954 and a joint venture with Shell and BP in 1955 (Shell BP Todd Services, now Shell Todd Oil Services).
  • Kapuni gas/condensate field discovered in 1959 and offshore Maui gas/condensate/oil field discovered in 1969.


  • Independent marketing of gas from Kapuni in 1997.
  • Todd Energy moved downstream into gas distribution with the acquisition of Nova Gas and Invested in Happy Valley landfill gas to electricity project.
  • Nova Energy later established as downstream solar/gas/LPG/electricity brand.


  • Investment in NZ electricity lines companies in 1994 through joint venture with Utilicorp United, Kansas, exited 1998 due to government regulation.
  • Diversified from hydrocarbon production into electricity generation (using gas, geothermal and hydro) and retail with investments in Bay of Plenty Electricity, Mangahao hydro 1995, King Country Energy, Otago Citigas and the Fonterra steam/electricity cogeneration joint ventures.
  • Investment in solar and tidal energy (Crest).
  • Commissioned own 100 MW gas peaker plant in 2013.


  • Acquired stakes in Maari offshore oil field in 1998 and Pohokura gas/condensate field in 2000.
  • Expanded with acquisition of 100% of Mangahewa gas/condensate and McKee oil/gas fields in 2001.
  • Investment in offshore listed oil/gas companies e.g. Cue.
  • Opened an office in Calgary, Canada in 2012.


  • Todd Energy moved to operate both 100% owned assets and drill onshore wells independently of Shell Todd Oil Services.
  • Acquisition of own drilling rig 2013.


  • Opened LPG plant at McKee in 2011.
  • Expansion of McKee gas processing plant 2013.
  • Announced South Louisiana Methanol project in 2013.


Todd Corporation

  • Todd Bros Limited becomes the Todd Corporation Limited in 1987 with four divisions: Energy, Property, Corporate Investments and Securities/Liquidity.

Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT)

  • Todd built a portfolio of TMT investments through Joint venture start-ups.
  • Invested in Clear Communications (with Bell Canada, MCI, BT), AAP Telecommunications (with MCI, Singtel and AAP), Sky TV (exited in October 2012), Independent Newspapers Limited. All exited.
  • Investment in Crown Castle Australia (cell phone tower JV with Crown Castle International in Australia). Exited in 2015.
  • Invested in Parts Trader 2011.


  • Joint ventures established in NZ in gold and silver mining (with Coeur d'Alene), iron sands extraction (1970-87 with Marcona), and coal mining. All now exited or closed.
  • Invested in the Balla Balla iron ore resource with Forge Resources in West Australia in 2012.
  • Invested in Wolf Resources, developer of a tungsten resource in the UK in 2012.
  • Opened an office in Sydney, Australia in 2013.


  • Took up agency for Fokker 1956, Boeing 1964. The first Boeing 737 arrived in Wellington in 1967. 


  • Baigent Forest Industries, a plantation and processing joint venture with Shell. Exited 1987.


  • Whitby development 1967-1996.
  • Shortland Properties 1989-1999.
  • Todd Property (100% in 2009) with Stonefields, Long Bay, Ormiston, Kapiti Landing and Pegasus developments.


  • Acquired 100% of winegrowers Ara in 2009.


  • Aged care investment in Metlifecare (1999-2005).
  • Acquired 100% of Integria Healthcare in 2010.


Chairman - a chronology

Until 1942

Charles Todd Chairman of Todd Bros, Todd Motors and Europa


Sir Desmond Todd Chairman of Todd Bros and Todd Motors, Sir Bryan Todd Chairman of Europa


Sir Bryan Todd Chairman of Todd Petroleum Mining


Andrew Todd Chairman of Todd Bros and Todd Motors


Sir Bryan Todd Chairman of Todd Bros and Todd Motors


John Todd Chairman of Todd Corporation and Todd Petroleum Mining


Sir John Todd retires, Geoff Ricketts Chairman of Todd Corporation.