Wright Stephenson

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Wright Stephenson & Co Limited
renamed NMA Wright Stephenson Holdings Limited 1972
renamed Challenge Corporation Limited 1973
Industry Stock and Station Agency
Fate (business) merged with Fletcher Holdings Limited
(company) dissolved 2000
Predecessor Wright Stephenson
Successor July 1, 1981 (1981-07-01) Fletcher Challenge Limited
Founded Dunedin, New Zealand (business) (1861 (1861))
(company) March 28, 1906 (1906-03-28)
Founder John Wright and Robert Robertson
Defunct ceased operations July 1, 1981 (1981-07-01)
Headquarters Dunedin until 1918 then Wellington, New Zealand
Number of locations
Area served
New Zealand, Australia
Key people
W D Hunt
J A Johnstone
C U Plimmer
R R Trotter

Wright Stephenson was a stock and station agency founded in Dunedin New Zealand in 1861 that by 1972, just before it merged with NMA, had developed 27 stock and station branches throughout New Zealand with more than 100 further sub-branches and agencies to service farming areas throughout the country.

After the merger with NMA the company was known from 23 March 1972 as NMA Wright Stephenson Holdings Limited until 31 October when the long-intended name was assumed, Challenge Corporation.

Following the January 1981 merger of Challenge with Fletcher Holdings and Tasman Pulp and Paper — which did not provide the desired financial stability — the Fletcher Challenge group was demerged in 2001.

The stock and station agency operations now form a core part of the business known as PGG Wrightson.


The business was begun in 1861 by partners John Wright and Robert Robertson. Robertson left in 1868 and was replaced by auctioneer John Stephenson. Ownership was switched to a public listed company in 1906.[1]

Core business[edit]

On behalf of its farming clients Wright Stephenson handled the sale and auction of livestock, wool, land, grain and seed as well as provided services to meet a range of agricultural and pastoral requirements.[1]

Pastoral banking service[edit]

Working capital and capital was provided to the farming industry together with advice on farm accounting, budgeting, taxation and estate planning.[1]


To dilute the seasonal and cyclical nature of their activities in the wool trade Wright Stephenson developed extensive interests held in:

  • the motor vehicle industry including retail and wholesale trading and manufacturing
  • home-appliance stores, a chain of more than a dozen throughout New Zealand's main centres
  • warehouses engaged in the wholesale distribution of hardware, pharmaceuticals, veterinary supplies and general merchandise
  • major holdings in a quoted company operating 27 department stores
  • a joint venture developing shopping centres and major commercial buildings.[1]

Stock and station agencies acquired[edit]





Wrightson NMA[edit]

In 1972 Wright Stephenson merged with National Mortgage and Agency Company of New Zealand to form Wrightson NMA[1] The holding company took the name NMA Wright Stephenson, it was to change that to Challenge Corporation in 1973,[3] which subsequently merged with Fletcher Holdings in 1981 to form Fletcher Challenge.


  1. ^ a b c d e "NMA Wright Stephenson Holdings Limited". The Times (58466). 1 May 1972. p. 20. 
  2. ^ Page 4, Large Companies, Forming PGG Wrightson, Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
  3. ^ Challenge Corporation Limited. The Times, Thursday, Nov 01, 1973; pg. 26; Issue 58928