History and experience of MacPhee Engineering

Harvesting equipment

MacPhee Engineering began by designing and building potato planting, harvesting and grading machinery, mainly in the Rangitikei and Pukekohe.  We also  manufactured Potato Bag Loaders and Forage harvesters.

Haigh Frozen Foods set up their business at Rata and we developed a very good relationship, copying and generally supporting the development of the frozen food machinery.  This included hand making everything from pea pumps, pea meters, bean cleaners and carrot and corn washers and graders, chip fryers, heat exchanges etc.

Potato grader

Proof of our ability to deliver on time and go the extra mile for our client came when another company could not deliver.     We under took to make 2 complete pea harvesters in 5 months.

Our approach was to strip an existing pea harvester down and copy it religiously so all parts were interchangeable in case one was damaged and needed spares.   The first pea harvester machine was delivered to Doug Haigh on Christmas Day and worked for a week before it needed any attention.   After 4 hours of modifications it completed the season with less attention than the originals.

We also built the blast freezers and coldstores for Haigh/Jim Bull Group and Watties, Feilding.  I believe that the Feilding blast tunnel is still operating 15 years later.

Additionally, we built a complete effluent disposal system using aeration removal, disposing of 30-40 ton of sewage per day to environmental requirements.


The farming industry began to boom and we built literally thousands of square metres of covered yards throughout the Central North Island.   Some of these included the additional design of specialised machinery to erect the buildings in very extreme positions.     
We developed a excellent woolshed design which led us into commercial buildings these included a Fiat franchise, a knitting mill, a very large woolstore and a few coldstores, potato sheds etc.


Wool shed
Wool shed

Hanger with Cessna


Caltex Service Stations

With the downturn in farming this era slowed.  In mid winter 1985 Caltex Oil invited us to help with their Waiouru service station project.   Our only sub-contractor on the Caltex project was an electrical ~   we did the rest.    A  strong relationship with Caltex developed and continued for the next 10 years and 115 service stations later.

We have worked very closely with a very innovative and sometimes radical Design Engineer over this time and have helped develop Caltex Service Stations, Carwash Units, Truckstop kiosks, Air and Water stands and Caltex Signage. 

Click on image to enlarge


Caltex Service Station Assembly
Caltex Service Station assembly


Completed Service Station
Completed Service Station


Caltex Signage
Caltex signage


Air & water stands
Caltex Air & Water Stands


Carwash buildings
Carwash Building

bottom corner