Builder left big legacy of construction

Ted Riddick died in a road crash yesterday.
Ted Riddick died in a road crash yesterday.

Taranaki building legend Ted Riddick, who died in a road crash yesterday, was behind much of New Plymouth's skyline and the development of infrastructure throughout the region.

Riddick Bros and Still Ltd built hundreds of commercial and residential buildings between 1947 and 1977 and became Taranaki's largest contracting company.

Notable buildings which are his continuing legacy include the former Tasman Hotel, the Kawaroa swimming pool, McKechnies and Olex Cables, both in Bell Block, Spotswood's Ivon Watkins Dow building and the Taranaki Daily News building.

Mr Riddick also built and owned the Moturoa shops.

Mr Riddick suffered fatal injuries outside his Carrington Rd home yesterday morning when his all terrain six-wheeler farm vehicle and a station wagon collided.

Willie Still, who was Mr Riddick's business partner, close friend and brother-in-law - having married Mr Riddick's sister, Rosalie - said he was the youngest boy in a family of nine children.

"He was a straight shooter: very honest and very dedicated. He was quiet, really, but he made things happen," he said.

Their friendship survived 65 years "that shows some respect between each other".

"He lived on a farmlet on Carrington Rd where he had great enjoyment looking after the stock. That was probably what he would have been doing this morning," Mr Still said.

The president of the New Zealand Master Builders, Dave Fabish, of New Plymouth, was shocked to hear of Mr Riddick's untimely death yesterday.

"He's an absolute legend," Mr Fabish said.

Mr Riddick, his brother Ray (now deceased) and Mr Still were three of only four life memberships given in the 100-year history of the Taranaki Registered Master Builders.

"Ted was an inspiration to us all and is very sadly missed," Mr Fabish said.

The fourth life member, Gary Lord said: "Ted will be sorely missed by us all."

After branching out from Riddick Bros and Still in 1969, forming Ted Riddick Ltd, he built the AMP office, refurbished numerous TSB Banks and did "a multitude of work for the Polytechnic", Mr Lord said.

After holding many master builder offices over the years, he represented the Federation of Master Builders in Tokyo in 1964.

"He attended 14 of these conferences and was instrumental in initiating the first and continuing close relationships between Asian and New Zealand construction and contracting companies.

"Many of today's companies that have close ties to Asian companies and workplaces can thank Ted for being instrumental in their relationships," Mr Lord said.

Mr Riddick's legacy to Taranaki will be remembered each year when the cup that bears his name is presented to the best residential project at the Taranaki Master Builders House of the Year and Commercial Project Awards.

He recently presented the cup to this year's winner, Roger Hassall.

A member of New Plymouth West Rotary, Mr Riddick leaves his wife, Rita, and four children.

Taranaki Daily News