The History of Great Engineering


The art of engineering has been a necessary part of civilisation since we as humans decided to use our resources to build structures. Because of engineering, we have incredible structures such as temples, aqueducts and colosseums that shaped the earth’s history. Our history of engineering then went on to pave the way for the future of structures, and resulted in the amazing feats like the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Empire State Building in New York City, United States, and the Sydney Opera house in Sydney, Australia.

But how did we get there, and how did New Zealand put itself on the map as the home of exceptional engineering? How did modern engineering companies such as Farra in Wellington, New Zealand establish themselves in a world of the Pantheon or Buckingham Palace?


The basic concept of engineering is designing and building structures and machines using sciences. An engineer typically has a strong science background, and uses their background and training to design a structure, then implement that design. Engineering can be broken down into many different divisions, including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering. Things like cars, airplanes, computers, and bridges are built by the three of these divisions.

Buildings like the Empire State Building may have required a civil engineer to help construct the building, a mechanical engineer to assist with the roads and bridges around the building, and an electrical engineer to design the electrical system throughout the building. A fabrication engineer would have been employed to weld the steel together.

Why do we need engineering?

The need for engineering seems obvious to us today. We drive cars to work and to our homes, and therefore need roads and bridges to get us there. Skyscrapers in large cities are often required due to space constraints. Computers and electronics only grow more advanced every day.

Even before engineers were called engineers, and the first structures were being built, there was a need, or at least a desire, for the structure to be built. Shelters for survival, temples for worship, and primitive bridges to cross streams and rivers were not built simply for aesthetics, but because of the needs of the community.

These needs that spawned early structures were part of the beginning of great engineering. With every bridge constructed, another one could be made better, stronger, or longer lasting. A spear made to hunt could be improved with each use. Houses that once leaked or didn’t stand up to strong winds and rain were rebuilt with stronger materials. Continuous improvement was, and is, vital to our structures, which is why engineering companies in New Zealand have succeeded in becoming some of the greats in the business.

Engineering in New Zealand

As New Zealand’s resources were discovered, engineering was essential to their harvesting. The discovery of gold and iron resources in NZ led to a fast-growing economy and spurred the need for new settlements and towns, as well as the apparatus needed to mine the resources. Roads were constructed across the South Island to move the resources from inland to the sea, where it could be shipped off across the world. Even building new homes became extremely important to house the new immigrants pouring in to take their chances in the goldfields.

As Auckland, NZ began to grow, engineering companies popped up across the city to keep up with the new demand for infrastructure. Auckland engineers started building trams, railways and roads, that still define the city’s shape today. Auckland, along with many other cities in NZ, was built on an inlet that required extensive engineering of bridges and harbours. The Auckland Harbour Bridge is a prime example of an incredible work of engineering in NZ. In many ways, engineering is the only way a city can grow. It must employ the strong science and technology backgrounds of engineers to expand a city beyond its borders.

Modern Engineering

Nowadays, engineering is still an incredibly fast growing field in New Zealand. Transport, telecommunications, energy and water are among the Government’s main plans for infrastructure. With immense funding being set aside for these projects, engineering will only continue to grow in New Zealand. STEM schools (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics schools), are becoming increasingly popular to keep up with the demand for strong engineers in the future.

When you think about the great buildings of the world, or the bridges that have upheld millions of commuters and have withstood the earth’s elements, it’s sometimes easy to forget the people who were behind it all. The people who changed the face of engineering didn’t just build something beautiful or functional, they built something that no one had built before. They built something that lasted, and influenced the engineers that came after them. Engineering even got us to the moon, by building a spacecraft that could carry a human being off our planet and in to space. Now, we have telescopes and discovery spacecraft that can show us images we could have never dreamt of before.

In all reality, the true greats of engineering are simply the ones who were able to think ahead. They saw the current need, and somehow created something that fit that need and changed the way we built in the future. They found a way, out of thin air, to better the world with what they created. When we look at the Empire State Building or the Sydney Opera House, our appreciation can run so much deeper know how much these structures have influenced us.

Even in your own home, you can appreciate what great engineering has done for you. Your home computer or laptop, your radio, your air conditioner and your car in the driveway are all examples of how engineering is a vital part of your life. And the next time you drive across a bridge or see a beautiful building, you will better understand how much great engineering has shaped our lives.

5 Compelling Reasons to Hire a Local Metal Fabrication Company


While the internet is great for business, some things just can’t be accomplished online, such as sheetmetal engineering in NZ. The technological age has accelerated productivity and efficiency in the industry, and much of the work is handled in the cloud. However, there are still practical, real-world benefits to choosing a local fabricator, and some of those are listed below.

Better Quality Control

Whether the job is a production run or a one-off, there’s nothing like a hands-on approach to ensure the product’s details. This is particularly vital with components that have to fit perfectly with parts from other vendors, and a local fabricator can facilitate this method of production. The best fabricators welcome the presence of clients’ QC personnel and engineers at every stage of the project.

Easier Collaboration

Some engineering fabrication products require close coordination to make changes and overcome obstacles. From idea to finished design, every product is different, but all require some coordination. While some of this can be done online, other parts of the project can benefit from in-person problem solving and cooperation.

Logistical Improvements

Logistics are crucial for oddly-shaped, large, and heavy products. However, shipping expenses can quickly add up for long hauls. Warehousing is another big expense, but using local fabrication engineering can help companies reduce the need for a large inventory. In fact, some companies can supply returnable packing materials that help clients save resources, money, and time.

A Boost to the Local Economy

If a client can find a capable local fabricator for sheetmetal engineering in NZ, they can help other area businesses and stakeholders. The more a national economy suffers, the more everyone benefits when businesses adopt practices that keep local and regional economies robust. Local metal fabricators strive to support regional material suppliers, shippers, and contractors as well as customers.

Find a Local Metal Fabricator With the Capability and Experience for Any Job

Experience and capability are crucial for any metal fabrication company regardless of its location. Farra Engineering is one of New Zealand’s only steel fabrications companies that combines stamping, rolling, and hydroforming in one location, and we can take on any challenge. Visit us at to learn about our history, our capabilities, and our services.

Checking a Structure After an Earthquake


Following an earthquake, the first priority must always be to make certain everyone is safe and to help those who are injured. Human life should be put above all else, so individuals need to make certain that they are in a secure location, as aftershocks can continue for an extended period of time. Once this has been done, however, the attention needs to turn to the structure people are currently in. Although a building may appear to be safe after an event of this type, care must be taken. The aftershocks could lead to additional damage or make existing damage more prominent. For this reason, the following steps should be taken as soon as possible following the earthquake.

First and foremost, make certain everyone involved in the inspection has the appropriate footwear, as there may be glass and other debris that could lead to injuries. Furthermore, clean up any hazardous materials that may have spilled during the earthquake, but be careful when doing so. Substances may have combined and lead to unseen issues due to chemical reactions. Open windows to ensure there is adequate ventilation during this process, and stop and evacuate the building if any concerns arise.

Check the structure for live electrical wires and other potential hazards. If possible, turn off the utilities at the mains, taking caution when doing so. In the event gas is smelled, evacuate immediately and search for another safe location to wait out the aftershocks. When a water leak is detected, attempt to stop it while taking steps to conserve existing water. Keep the doors to the refrigerator and freezer closed if power has been out to keep the food good as long as possible also. In the event water is needed, melt ice cubes or make use of reserve water to clean wounds until the water supply has been declared safe.

Immediately check to see if there is any obvious structural damage like gaps or craks. The building may tilt as a result of the natural disaster, thus the vertical alignment needs to be examined right away. Many companies now make use of building maintenance units in NZ to help examine a building for damage at a time such as this, and it’s an option every business should consider. To supplement BMU systems in NZ, building occupants should also do a visual exam of the structure.

Cracks in the foundation may be easily visible during this inspection, as the walls can separate from the foundation. Large diagonal cracks observed on concrete members is an indication the building is no longer safe, and the same is true if connection joints for wood and steel have separated. Ceilings and walls also need to be examined for the possibility of failure. Much of this damage may be hidden behind walls or in ceilings, so extreme care must be taken as this inspection is being conducted.

Don’t forget to check closets and storage areas during the inspection. Slowly open doors to these areas, however. Items may have been loosened during the earthquake and could fall when the door is opened.

It is best to call engineering companies in New Zealand to do a thorough exam as soon as possible. They have the tools and equipment needed to do a thorough inspection of the business, including areas hidden to the eye. Do everything possible to facilitate the process, such as providing the inspectors with security codes to restricted areas and things of that nature. Have any employees present in the building follow the directions of the inspectors to ensure no one is harmed as the process continues. In addition, ask for recommendations about steps that can be taken to prevent damage in the future.

Turn to Farra Engineering ( for help with checking a structure following an earthquake. Many individuals know this company as NZ lift manufacturers, and they offer numerous other services also. You can rely on them when it comes to cnc machining in NZ. They offer the equipment companies need for checking their structure and numerous other implements as well. From a temporary lift work platform to signs directing customers as the building is repaired, they work with clients to obtain the items they need following an earthquake.

Understanding Custom Steel Fabrication in New Zealand and What It Involves


Metal has become a commonplace item in today’s society, so common that many people never realize they are looking at or using an item that contains this material. Paper clips are one example, as are aerospace parts. In order to take the raw metal and make it into the desired item, a sheet metal fabricator machine is used. The company offering custom steel fabrication in NZ takes the metal and cuts, punches, removes, drills and shapes it to make the finished product that has been requested. What does the average person need to know about custom metal fabrication NZ, and how it may be of benefit to them?

Creating The Perfect Item

When a customer requests a part or product, NZ stainless steel engineers go to work. They find solutions to create the ordered item to specification and search for ways to ensure the production process is optimised. To do so, they may either deform the metal or remove portions of it, and a variety of metals may be used during the process. The first step involves designing the finished product, through the conceptualization, analysis, or creation of various characteristics of this product. Once this has been completed, the actual product is built, and the engineers then make use of post-fabrication treatments to improve the quality of the final product.

Determining The Appropriate Metal

Certain metals are commonly used during the fabrication process, including aluminum, copper, gold, brass, magnesium, tin titanium, steel, silver, nickel, and iron. Other metals may also be employed, however, thus the selection of the material is a critical part of the process.

When the right material is selected, costs tend to decrease and design integrity goes up. Many turn to light, strong metals, as they require the use of less material while still producing an item that is structurally strong. All options need to be taken into consideration, however, as a less-common metal may end up being the best choice. It all depends on the item to be created, and the right shop can help customers determine which metal will best meet their needs.

Helpful Tools During The Production Process

Many shops now make use of a CAD program to create a 3-D rendering of the finished product. This provides the customer with the opportunity to see what the end product will look like before any work is done. Changes can be made at this stage if the customer isn’t satisfied with what he or she is seeing. When the finished pieces need to be assembled, tooling comes into play. This allows the customer to test the prototype and determine if changes are required.

By taking this step, individuals and businesses find any differences between what was seen in the CAD program and what actually occurs when the prototype is used. Tolerance may be checked at this time and modifications made to help lower manufacturing costs. When modifications are made, they tend to be in those parts that are non-essential.

Custom Metal Fabrication Applications

Imagine custom-made shelves in the home designed to showcase an art collection. This is only one of the many ways custom metal fabrication can be of benefit in a home. The process may be used to create a table base or manufacture stainless steel cabinets and countertops for a kitchen. Install a wall panel made from hot-rolled steel sheets that have been chemically aged for a modern look in any home or request a door awning made of copper and iron to make the entryway to the residence more welcoming. Many homes now feature a custom fabricated range hood, and this is one option every homeowner should consider, as there are numerous ways to incorporate metal into a home for an individual look.

Commercial applications vary greatly by industry. Create parts and modules for automobiles or design a boiler that better meets the needs of the company. The aerospace industry makes use of custom metal fabrication in many ways, as does the food and beverage industry. Shipbuilders often call on companies specializing in this task when they need a part, and the same is true of the utilities and waste management industry. Take a look around and see the numerous ways metal is used in the world, and it will be easy to see why this skill remains in high demand.

Selecting A Metal Fabrication Shop

The choice of custom fabrication shop plays a role in the ultimate success or failure of this undertaking. The right shop helps to ensure the highest production quality, the cost-effectiveness of the project and the rate of manufacturing. When making this selection, individuals and businesses need to take into consideration the experience level of the staff and the industries normally served by the shop. A shop that is dedicated to making parts for the automobile industry may not be the best choice when an item is to be created for the home, for example.

Evaluate the tooling capacity and machinery of the shop and the production runs they normally handle. Some shops typically take on short-term production projects or those of low volume, and others handle high volume projects that will last for an extended period of time. Finally, make certain the shop stocks the material to be used in the project, as some shops only work with certain metals, although this isn’t a common problem.

If you are in need of custom steel fabrication in NZ for any project, call on Farra Engineering ( From small projects to large ones, the company handles all tasks with the same dedication and precision. They work with local individuals and businesses, as well as larger organizations, to ensure all have access to the metal products they need to complete their work and can do the same for you. Whether you are installing a spiral staircase in your home or need a bitumen emulsion tank for work, the team is ready and willing to assist, so give them a call today.

Options for Engineering Careers in NZ


FACT – There is a shortage of qualified and experienced engineers throughout New Zealand (NZ) across a variety of engineering disciplines. New Zealand Immigration keep a current list of skills that are in demand because there is a shortage of residents in NZ with those skills.

Engineering jobs in demand in New Zealand 
You will find lots of engineering jobs on the skills shortage lists.

Skills sought as at mid 2015 include: 

– chemical engineer

– engineers: civil, construction, electrical, electronics, environmental, geotechnical, industrial, instrument and electrical, materials, – mechanical, mining, petroleum, production, structural and transport specialities
– draughtspersons: mechanical, civil and electrical
– technicians: civil, electrical and electronic


Is Engineering for you?

If any of the items in the list below interest you then engineering may be the career for you: 

– designing solutions
– solving technical problems
– manufacturing processes
– chemical processes
– materials processes
– electrics
– electronics
– mechanics
– telecommunications
– built environment
– construction

What qualifications do you need?

At a vocational level you can earn diplomas and certificates which although do not qualify you for registration as a professional engineer they can be a great starting point for further study. You can specialise in the engineering field that interests you the most. Examples of the different fields include: marine, mechanical and nautical engineering, aircraft servicing, audio, civil, electrical, aviation, food processing and surveying.

Completing a 2 year diploma in an engineering field will qualify you as an engineering technician. To reach the level of engineering technologist you will need to do a 3 year bachelor course (degree) in engineering technology. To become a professional engineer you will need to complete a 4 year bachelor degree. Once at professional level you can then apply to be a Chartered Professional Engineer (requires qualification and experience) and join the other 16,000 members of IPENZ  (Institution of Professional Engineers in New Zealand).

You can further your interest in a particular branch of engineering that interests by carrying out research during postgraduate studies and work towards gaining a doctorate or PhD.

Where to study?

There is a wide choice of places to study across New Zealand. You can study at a university, a polytechnic or an institute of technology. In addition some private colleges and industry organisations offer engineering programs. Each institution will offer different courses so you will need to do some research on where would be the best option for you. Can you can study in your home town or will you have to consider leaving home to study?

Institutions offering engineering courses

Six universities in New Zealand offer engineering courses: Auckland, Massey, Canterbury, Waikato and Wellington (Victoria). There are numerous Institutes of Technology or Polytechnics: Bay of Plenty, Christchurch(CPIT), Manakau, Nelson (NMIT), Northtec, Otago Polytechnic, SIT, Open Polytechnic, Unitec, UCOL, Waikato, Wellington (Weltec), Taranaki (WITT) and Whitireia.

In addition there are a couple of private establishments offering training: the UC International College or UCIC and the IAANZ (International Aviation Academy of New Zealand. For more information about studying engineering in New Zealand please visit the following websites:  and .

Farra Engineering are one of the many New Zealand engineering companies  you may be able to obtain work experience with or apply for a job once qualified. Farra Engineering are a long established company with 150 years of experience. With qualified stainless steel engineers  we are experts in custom stainless steel . Visit  for details of the projects and engineering services offered.

The Rise of the Micro Brewery in NZ


New Zealand has a long history with beer brewing dating back to the late 18th Century when Captain James Cook crafted a brew to aid in the treatment of scurvy. Using wort, molasses and rimu bark and leaves the first New Zealand beer was created in 1770! It was not until more Europeans with the major ingredients of beer arrived during the 19th Century that brewing began in earnest. The dominant beer styles being those of ales, stouts and porters due to the majority of European immigrants being from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The first commercial brewery to be established in New Zealand was in 1835 by Joel Samuel Polack in the Bay of Islands at Kororareka (now called Russell). There has always been and will always be a demand for microbreweries though.

In New Zealand there has been a rise in popularity of blends from smaller craft breweries and a reduction in sales for the two major ale producers (Dominion and Lion Breweries). Demand for craft beers has increased since the 1980’s in New Zealand with some pubs operating their own breweries, often within the same building for example the Dux de Lux in Christchurch.

Farra Engineering have been designing and manufacturing breweries for over 25 years and have recently designed a compact and portable brewery. This design is perfect for the home enthusiast wishing to move away from a jumble of ad hoc brewing paraphernalia to a more sophisticated system to rival the professionals. In fact the system is so sophisticated that the larger breweries can use it to trial and perfect new brews.

If you are ready to follow in the footsteps of Captain Cook and create your own unique blend to rival the pale ales of the largest New Zealand breweries then you must check out the 50 SBB from Farra Engineering. The compact three-tiered design utilises gravity and thus has eliminated the need for pumps.

A heat exchanger designed by Farra stainless steel engineers in Christchurch allows the wort to achieve the optimum temperature for yeast pitching. The unit is quite capable of producing 45 litres in just 4 hours. Your own brew ready to enjoy after just a few weeks of fermenting and conditioning – too easy!

The micro brewery was designed in conjunction with Emerson’s Breweries (multi-award winning craft brewery) from Dunedin and was exhibited at Beervana in Wellington to rave reviews. For quality design and innovation for the brewing industry both commercially and at home you simply must contact Farra Engineering for further information. Could this unit lead to a further rise in microbreweries, craft beers and the creation of a uniquely New Zealand beer like the original crafted by Captain Cook?

Farra Engineering has been around for over 150 years and has built a solid reputation for quality custom stainless steel, backed by reliability and excellent customer service. We are one of the founding New Zealand engineering companies with years of experience in developing new products.

We at Farra Engineering have been helping small breweries and in home brewers throughout New Zealand for over 25 years. As stainless steel engineers we have a commitment to quality and innovative design. Contact us today