E Hayes and Sons is a family business in the truest sense.
The company has a long and proud history in New Zealand built around the strong family principles which our forefathers brought to Southland almost 150 years ago.
Eben Ernest Hayes (known as Ernest) was a pioneering New Zealand inventor, designer and manufacturer of agricultural equipment. He was born in Warwickshire, England in 1851 and emigrated to New Zealand with his wife Hannah and infant son Llewellyn in 1882.
A millwright and engineer by trade, Ernest began his own engineering business in the township of Oturehua* - formerly named Rough Ridge - in Central Otago in 1895 developing numerous new products using his pioneering design skills.
The Hayes name soon became synonymous with agriculture and engineering through many of Hayes’ original inventions - one of his most significant being the development of the Hayes permanent fence strainer in 1905 - a product still manufactured today and widely used on farms throughout New Zealand.
It was from this traditional family background of innovation, inventiveness and hard work that one of Ernest’s five sons, Irving, opened the Invercargill branch of E Hayes and Sons in Leven Street in 1932. The company’s first premises were leased from the Railways Department at a cost of 28/6 ($2.85) per week.
From here, under the direction of Irving Hayes, the company grew in size and reputation as it continued to meet the needs of Southland industries, trade customers and the general public with an extensive range of hardware and engineering products and services.
Generations of the Hayes family continued to be involved in every level of the business. Irving's son Norman joined, and with a passion for motor-racing and all things mechanical he worked his way up through the store and took over as Managing Director when Irving passed away in 1978.
Over this time the company continued expanding to meet the needs of a growing population and business investment in the Southland region.
The initial part of the present Dee Street, Invercargill premises was built in 1956 and with the further acquisition of the adjoining building, the shop stretched across an entire city block from front to rear.
Norman Hayes managed the store for 27 years before his passing in 2005.
Today Norman's son Neville Hayes is Managing Director. Neville started with the company in 1972 and, as was family tradition, began work ‘on-the-bike’ driving the company delivery van.
The most recent building upgrade in 2009 increased the overall retail and storage area to 5540 sq metres allowing the addition of an extensive range of giftware, kitchen accessories and automotive products.
This extension also provided a permanent home to the unique E Hayes Motorworks Collection. This privately-owned collection of over one hundred classic, vintage and modern motorcycles, automobiles, engines, equipment and memorabilia includes Burt Munro's Authentic, Original and Legendary 1920 Indian Scout.
The E Hayes Motorworks Collection is spread throughout our store and free for visitors to share and enjoy during normal shop hours.
Today the company employs a large team, many with a long and valued association with the company. E Hayes and Sons also has a strong affiliation with Hammer Hardware and the TradeZone Industrial Group allowing it to service both the home-user and specialist industrial markets.
After almost 90 years in business, our company and staff are proudly committed to maintaining a hard-earned reputation of providing good quality, exceptional personal service and advice in order to meet the needs of customers throughout Southland and New Zealand for many years to come.