Tales from Waikato


By all accounts the Waikato Awards dinner was a fabulously fun night. Kerre Woodham entertained the crowd in the role of MC and the award-winning builders celebrated their successes, but it was 85-year-old Tom Hodgson, a former builder and Life Member of the Waikato Registered Master Builders Association, who charmed the crowd.


Tom, who some describe as a “local celebrity” and “sharp as a tack”, was asked by the association to present the Life Members Award for Workmanship at the awards ceremony.


In doing so Tom regaled the crowd with stories of his on and off-site antics over the years. He announced that he was wearing a suit that he and his wife bought for £8 in Melbourne 55 years ago, and it still fitted him perfectly!


After presenting the award, an obelisk made of seven types of native New Zealand timber, to Rob van Weerd Construction, Tom went on to thoroughly enjoy the remainder of the evening by dancing with just about every woman in the room.


Tom was one of the first builders to become a registered master builder. He joined in 1950 after returning from his service in World War II and spending two years rehabilitating and training.


Based in Hamilton he built four residential homes before moving into construction in the commercial sector.


Trading under his own company T G Hodgson Ltd, Tom and his team built many commercial properties, including the Firth Industries offices in Te Rapa and Forlongs Furnishings of Frankton.


In his time Tom trained several apprentices. Steve Brackenridge, an award-winning builder himself and the president of the Auckland Registered Master Builders Association, was an apprentice to Tom.


In 1962 Tom retired and has maintained a keen interest in developments in the construction industry. He has eight grandchildren and is a great granddad to one.


Tom and his wife are about to depart for a month-long holiday in Hawaii, their favourite holiday destination which they visit every year.

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