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Our Story

The TUMU Group was founded in Dannevirke, Hawke’s Bay in 1975 by Hugh O’Sullivan.  Today, we hold business interests in multiple sectors across New Zealand.  Our growth has been quite a journey! 

TUMU GROUP

WHERE IT

ALL BEGAN

TUMU Group was born from an idea sparked by its founder Hugh O’Sullivan as he was logging an area of native bush on his farm.  He realised that if he had somewhere to display the timber, he would be able to operate more successfully.  The rest, as they say, is history.

1975
Our first timber yard is leased
After growing a passion for the timber industry during the felling of Rimu trees on his property at Umutaroa, Hugh O’Sullivan realises a dream by setting up a lumber yard at Mangatera, Dannevirke. He names it TUMU Timbers with the motto: ‘Our goal – to supply quality timber the way you want.’
1975
1978
John's journey begins
John O’Sullivan joins his father at TUMU, marking the start of the then 17-year old school leaver’s lifetime journey of growing the family business.
1978
1981
TUMU TIMBERS Expands
John sets up Tumu Timbers in Hastings, at Maraekakaho Road. What began as a 1.0ha operation, now covers over 9.0ha of land at the same site.
1981
1988
we enter the building supply industry
We buy our first building supplies store in Dannevirke. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s we would open more stores in Hastings, Havelock North, Masterton, Napier and Gisborne.
1988
1991
we're introduced to kiwi lumber
We become a shareholder in Kiwi Lumber and a sawmill in Dannevirke is purchased. Three more would be added to the holdings, Putaruru (1998), Masterton (2004), and Gisborne (2020). Dannevirke, Putaruru, and Gisborne are all prune log sawmills, while Masterton produces structural timber.
1991
2004
we buy into the roundwood market
Together with two management partners, we buy a small roundwood operation in Reporoa, and rebrand it PermaPine. It is now New Zealand’s leading manufacturer of posts and poles predominantly supplying into the pastoral, horticulture, viticulture, and construction sectors.
2004
2009
timberspan lvl buildings take shape
In the late seventies we began building pole sheds for the rural sector, later adding commercial and industrial buildings to our offering. Our innovative approach using lvl timber to increase the span of the sheds, was highly sought after, so in 2009 we created the TimberSpan brand.
2009
2010
Killarney Capital is created
One of the new breed of privately owned non-bank, non-deposit taking property funders that was filling the void left by the finance company collapses of the Global Financial Crisis.
2010
2014
We add property development to our portfolio
Investing in a greenfield residential development in Havelock North. Now operating under the TUMU Property brand, the group has a dedicated team and gained significant experience in procuring and delivering residential, commercial and industrial land and construction projects.
2014
2016
And then lifestyle living
Our first foray into lifestyle living development, is the construction of a unit titled village in Hastings. The offering for the over 55 market contained 66-unit titled villas, along with a shared communal facility and an on-site manager, was named Frimley Village.
2016
2018
We expand our horizons
Together with a joint-venture partner we purchase a 34-acre greenfield site in Greytown, Wairarapa, naming it Greytown Orchards, where we’re developing a retirement village complete with 180 villas, serviced apartments, and a care facility.
2018
2019
midland brick and stone joins the TUMU family
With the purchase of New Zealand Brick and Stone, we solidify our journey of import and wholesale distribution of building materials.
2019
2022
we divest our interests in building supply stores
Following a strategic review, and after 45 years of involvement in the building supplies sector, we divest ownership of our six building supply stores and frame and truss plant to Fletcher Distribution.
2022
2023
O'Sullivan Family receives EY Family Enterprise Award of Excellence
The award was presented at the Entrepreneur of the Year awards and recognizes entrepreneurs who lead successful, multigenerational family enterprises with unique resilience, strong values, long-term vision, and entrepreneurial spirit
2023
2024
WATCH THIS SPACE!
2024