A & G Price Limited (Ltd)

Engineering Site (eg Portland cement works, Maori fortifications)


A & G Price Ltd. in Thames has the largest foundry in the country and is New Zealand’s premier heavy engineering company. The company has been manufacturing high quality iron, steel and brass products since it was established in 1871.

Alfred Price (1838–1907) learned about pattern-making and building textile machinery before he emigrated from England to Auckland in 1863. A few years later his brother George followed him to New Zealand and the two established A & G Price Ltd at Onehunga in 1868. The business had grown sufficiently by 1871 to expand and open a Thames works.

In Thames A & G Price made stamper batteries, Pelton wheels, pumps and other machinery for the goldfields of the region. The Onehunga works supplied flax milling machinery and built railway carriages and wagons for the government. However, the Onehunga factory was closed when their railway contract was completed in 1874, and all work was shifted to Thames.

In its very early days A & G Price was able to design and construct much of the manufactured equipment needed to service New Zealand’s requirements. By 1896 the Thames premises had electric lighting from a Pelton wheel powered generator. Picking up where the Onehunga works left off, the Thames factory manufactured railway engines even before the Thames branch railway was completed in 1898.

A & G Price Ltd. has made a major contribution to New Zealand’s progress in its over 140 years of operation, through the design and construction of steam and diesel locomotives, road graders, rock crushers, boilers, marine engines, mining, sawmilling and forestry equipment. An example of the importance of the company is that between 1904 and 1928 they manufactured 123 steam locomotives for the New Zealand Railways Department.

Still operating today (2012), A & G Price is perhaps the oldest and longest running engineering works in New Zealand. It continues to work in the field of pattern-making and can cast up to 10,000 kilograms (kg) in iron, 6,000 kg in steel, 2,500 kg in stainless steel, and up to 1,300 kg in non-ferrous alloys. Other activities include metallurgy testing and development, and the heavy machine shop has capacity to handle items up to 40 tonnes, six metres (m) in diameter and 10 m long. A recent development has been making the specialised keels for America’s Cup and Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race yachts.

For an expanded history see the attachment below.

Heritage recognition
This place has been recognised by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 historic place (List no. 128):
A & G Prices Foundry: New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero information (www.heritage.org.nz)

IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project
This item of New Zealand’s engineering heritage was recognised as part of the IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project which the Institution organised to help celebrate the country’s sesquicentenary in 1990. A plaque was unveiled to mark the significance of this egineering works as part of the development of the nation.

‘A & G Price Ltd., Thames,’ New Zealand Geared Locomotives, URL: http://www.trainweb.org/nzgearedlocomotives/price.html (accessed 1 February 2012)

IPENZ, Engineering to 1990, Engineering Publications Co Ltd, Wellington, 1990

Isdale, Alistair M., 'Price, Alfred – Biography,' from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, URL:
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/2p29/1 (updated 1 September 2010)

Judd, Warren, and Quinn, Peter, ‘Men of Steel,’ New Zealand Geographic, Vol. 34 April-June 1997

Vennell C W, Men of Metal. The story of A & G Price Ltd, Auckland & Thames 1868-1968; Wilson & Horton, Auckland, 1967


A & G Price report (J. La Roche, 2012).pdf


Beach Rd,
Thames 3500

Thames Valley / Coromandel

Access Info
The works are not open to the public

Nature of Engineering
Rail Transportation, Manufacturing and Industrial Processing


A G Price, Engineering, Thames, 1946. Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref: WA-05707-G. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

(Click image to enlarge )

Hodsell, Mae: Staff of A & G Price Ltd with 100th New Zealand Railways locomotive produced by the company, 1923. Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref: PAColl-6508. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

(Click image to enlarge )

Lat: -37.1317371 Long: 175.5348058