Aerial mappers grounded after nearly 80 years

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 05/09/2014

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A company that has carried out aerial mapping for 78 years is being liquidated after receivers could not find a buyer.

NZ Aerial Mapping was put into receivership in July after running out of cash with $1.5 million in outstanding payments owed on contracts in Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, receiver John Fisk, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said hopes of finding a buyer had been dashed and staff were advised that trading would cease once existing work had been completed.

Fifteen of the Hastings company's 22 staff were made redundant that afternoon. Seven were kept on to complete work and assist with the sale.

The company's assets, including five aircraft and several properties, will now be offered for sale on a breakup basis.

Fisk said the company's financial position "had deteriorated over the last three years as a result of trading losses and [it] was unable to raise capital to meet its funding requirements".

The company was formed in 1936 and was considered a leader in aerial photography throughout the country and overseas.

In 2010, it was contracted by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to accurately mark out and map their shared border.

Fisk would not say who or which companies had failed to pay. "Given we are still working through a process to see if we can recover amounts due under the contracts, we are unable to provide further details at this stage."

NZ Aerial Mapping's aircraft worked throughout New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Antarctica, the Middle East and Europe.

It holds a library of more than a million New Zealand images, dating from 1936.

The company was founded by Henry Drury Piet van Asch (1911-96) in 1936. A colourful character who is said to have danced with aviatrix Jean Batten, he learned to fly in Hawke's Bay.

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- The Dominion Post

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