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Fairview at 50: How a fire in Timaru marked the start of a successful Kiwi business

November 23, 2018

In 1968 the Fairview factory burnt to the ground. Owner Peter Lewis’s entrepreneurial journey had begun only six months prior. He’d bought a steel manufacturing plant in Timaru and set up shop alongside two staff. When the fire devastated his factory he’d been in business for just three months. The destruction was a huge blow and would’ve seen many simply give up. But Peter and his team worked through a bitter winter to rebuild the factory and create the beginnings of a thriving Kiwi business. His determination and resilience became the bedrock of our values and would help Fairview develop into the successful and trusted brand it is today.

Fairview-fire-and-rebuilt-factory1968 - The Timaru factory after the fire and when it was rebuilt.

Fifty years on, the humble family-owned joinery business in Timaru has grown into a nationwide company of over 300.

“On our golden anniversary, we’re proud to still be a family-owned Kiwi business” Warren Lewis, Fairview Managing Director.

Customer service at the heart of what we do

As the business grew obstacles would often arise but there was never a question of doing anything other than going above and beyond for our customers. That included Peter chartering a Bristol Freighter aircraft to fly down additional product from Auckland - to make sure Fairview could fulfil larger orders.

This commitment to delivering great service and products has never wavered. It remains a core part of what motivates us every day.

Our family of manufacturers

Peter continued making steel for a number of years but saw an opportunity for aluminium as the way of the future.

Using existing contacts, and by building his reputation and network at industry events, Peter created the grassroots of what would become our first manufacturer network. Today, we have 50 dedicated manufacturers throughout New Zealand who sell Fairview Windows and Doors exclusively.

“We wouldn’t be the company we are today without the strong relationships we have with our family of manufacturers.” Dean, Customer Services Team Leader.


1986 - Fairview's first window shop in Timaru.

A passion for innovation

Over the last 20 years, passion and innovation have been behind every product and service development we’ve made. We’ve diversified what we can offer the industry by always looking for new and better ways of doing things.

Expanding our product portfolio to include entry doors and other fabricated products (which were and still are all produced in-house) gave us the edge. This opened up new markets and helped ensure we met our customers' needs.

1987-Fairview-Auckland-factory-in-Otahuhu-and-1991-Timaru-PlaceLeft: 1987 - Our first Auckland premises in Otahuhu.
Right: 1991 Fairview‘s first custom-designed warehouse facility in Bowden Road.

But, it was the purchase of glass specialist Glass Relate in 2008 that really made us stand out. This important milestone made Fairview the only window supplier in New Zealand to offer a complete solution. We could now provide the whole package - aluminium extrusions, surface finish, glass and all the components including hardware - all delivered to our manufacturers.

A golden opportunity


2001 to present - Our home on Timaru Place, Auckland.

From small beginnings in 1960’s Timaru, 50 years on we’re now based at our custom designed premises on the purposefully named Timaru Place in Auckland. Today, we're proudly one of New Zealand's leading suppliers of aluminium window and door systems.

“Our strength is in working together, embracing new ideas and sharing our collective knowledge.” Lynne, Shearmac Aluminium (Fairview Manufacturer).

We understand that our products live in your home so we strive to continuously improve what we do. We’re using the latest technology to produce ranges that are more energy efficient, long lasting and architecturally stylish.

But at the end of the day, we’re still a family company that understands the importance of what it means to have a sense of pride, belonging and a place to call your own.


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