1970 - 1980

Titan bought the Wainuiomata Tunnel land at Gracefield, Lower Hutt, deemed to be a suitable site to relocate to when the Port Road lease expired. The land was sold in 1973 following the purchase of the Port Road land.

The company purchased its first truck-mounted hydraulic crane, a Coles Hydra 150T, 15 tonne capacity. It was mounted on a carrier manufactured in the company’s own workshop.

Gordon Stone began working as a fitter in the Lower Hutt workshop.

Dick Dore, formerly of the Titan Plant Services division, Wilkins & Davies, started work as the crane dispatcher.

In July, Titan bought the land in Port Road, Seaview, which is now the site of its Head Office and Wellington branch operation. 

In September, the company was allocated a one-third share in the newly established Fiji Crane Hire Company, Titan Pacific Limited. 

A talurit press purchased from John Shaw (NZ) Ltd resulted in the establishment of a wire rope and materials handling division to service the company’s own cranes and to provide a service to the public.

In September a new Aveling Barford Master Pavior model GNR road roller was purchased for general hire.  At one stage Titan owned a hire fleet of six such rollers. These were eventually sold to concentrate on the crane hire business.

Max Whiley made the first of several trips to Singapore to attend USA Army sales of surplus equipment from the Vietnam War.  He bought a number of items including Galion cranes for the hire fleet and entered into some joint venture deals with good friend Barny Barns, owner of Lion Machinery in Rotorua.

The company purchased its first large capacity crane - an NCK 1405 crawler crane of 70 tonne capacity.

The Wainuiomata Tunnel land was sold.  The neighbouring engineering workshop was bought which expanded the Port Road property.

Titan opened a crane hire branch in New Plymouth to service the developing oil and gas industry.  The company had been hiring cranes in Taranaki on long-term dry hire basis for a couple of years on contracts associated with the development of the Kapuni gas field.  Jim Tomlinson transferred from Lower Hutt in early 1975 to manage the branch.

Max Whiley and John Carter were instrumental in establishing the (PCA) Power Crane Association of New Zealand, now the Crane Association of New Zealand. Max was elected the first president.

Titan’s involvement with the PCA has been continuous since its inception, with staff having served on the council and other related industry committees. Graeme Haugh, Gordon Stone and John Carter all served as president and Russell Richardson was a council member.

Titan was awarded its first significant crane hire contract – the supply of all cranes for the construction of the Shell BP and Todd Oil Services Limited, Oaonui Gas Production Station. 

The shares in Titan Pacific Limited were sold ending the company’s involvement in Fiji.

John Carter replaced David Kay as company secretary upon the latter’s appointment as a director.

The crane-hire division became part of a newly-formed company Titan Cranes Limited which started trading in October 1977.  

Titan Cranes purchased a Grove TM875 crane of 73 tonne capacity. This was the largest capacity hydraulic crane in New Zealand at that time. 

Titan Plant Services became the first New Zealand agency for the Harnischfeger Corporation, the US manufacturer of P&H cranes.  This was the first equipment agency acquired by the company and signalled a new era in its activities.

A new 73-tonne capacity crane Grove TMS875 hydraulic mobile crane was purchased. This was the largest mobile crane on the road in New Zealand and became the backbone of the fleet for many years.  The crane was initially operated by Eddie Burkhardt who later became operations supervisor in Lower Hutt and then New Plymouth branch manager.

Graeme McPhee joined Max Whiley and Norman Eaden to assist in the sale of the used equipment. He had previously worked for Kato crane agent Jas J Niven as manager of the construction equipment division.

Titan purchased the crane hire division of Roebuck Construction in New Plymouth on 13 February. Roebuck’s crane supervisor Russell Richardson joined the Titan Cranes’ staff.

The Christchurch branch of Titan Cranes was established with the purchase from Ceramco of all assets of the Christchurch crane hire company - Nuttall Cranes Limited. Graeme Haugh, formerly Nuttall manager for Ceramco, was appointed manager of Titan’s Christchurch branch. 

Gordon Stone transferred to Christchurch to look after the crane maintenance and assist Graeme Haugh.