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Customer Profile: BlackBee

Anthony Capper
6 Feb

"Boss" Blackbee leads in Ruatoria with his businesses, HB Contractors and Blackbee Crushing, emphasizing community support and resilience, notably aiding post-Cyclone Gabrielle recovery.

Customer Profile: BlackBee


Often referred to simply as “Boss,” Heke O Te Rangi Blackbee is adynamic and transformative leader in his region.

He is the epitome of a self-made entrepreneur, an initiator, and an inspiration to many. His reputation as a distinguished coastal supplier and contractor for numerous significant local projects is well-deserved.

Hailing from Ruatoria, Boss Blackbee is deeply rooted in the community he serves. His journey began in 2014when he ventured into earth moving, initially offering work to his nephew.

Within a year, his brother joined the endeavour, followed by his father, forming what he jovially calls “the four musketeers.” Their family-owned business comprises HB Contractors and Blackbee Crushing, and it’s underpinned by a firm commitment to quality and a family-like culture. When they bring new staff on board, they extend a warm “welcome to the family,” underscoring the sense of unity and support that prevails within their team.

Before embarking on this entrepreneurial journey, Boss Blackbee gained valuable experience working for a prominent roading contractor on the East Coast. This experience endowed him with the skills necessary to train and lead his operators effectively.

Managing a team of 35 dedicated individuals, Boss recognizes the significance of establishing robust supplier relationships to minimize downtime and ensure the success of their projects.

When Boss decided to expand into the crushing business, he sought to hire a screen but ended up purchasing a K3. Today, Blackbee Crushing boasts aK4 screen, an R3 crusher, and most recently, another K4.

When asked why he opted for Keestrack machines, his unequivocal response was ‘reliability.’ He emphasized the devastating impact of downtime on their operations, especially when operating two hours away from Gisborne.

While acknowledging the inevitable challenges that come with running a business, Boss swiftly shifts the focus to his unwavering dedication to supporting the local community and providing employment opportunities. He points out that,

“There’s a lot of challenges, a lot of roadblocks, but the biggest struggle we’ve had up here is just consistency in the work.”

His vision and ambition are palpable. Boss’s foremost goal was to secure a maintenance contract to ensure consistency of work for his team. Notably, they achieved this milestone as the first-ever Māori-owned business on the East Coast to hold a maintenance contract.

He takes immense pride in this accomplishment, thanks to the diligence of his team and the reliability of their machinery. Their clients rely on their services, and this trust underscores the importance of reliability in their machinery. For Boss Blackbee, growth is a constant pursuit.

He acknowledges that having a machine down directly impacts profitability, emphasizing the importance of keeping their equipment in top condition. He mentioned however that it seems like at the click of the fingers the Equip2 team is on-site whenever they are needed.

Boss Blackbee’s story is a testament to the transformative potential of determination and unwavering dedication to community.

Situated in a region with a unique set of challenges, the East Coast, Boss’s team faced a significant test when Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc in the area.

While residents grappled with the aftermath, Boss and his team worked tirelessly on drainage, clearing, and fill operations, enabling supplies to flow and residents to access their nearest towns.

Their primary goal is to remain a dependable contractor for the East Coast, focusing on the maintenance of local roads and state highways. They aspire to be a perpetual presence, dedicated to nurturing the local community, connecting families, and offering opportunities to young people, many of whom struggle with traditional education.

Boss Blackbee’s story is a testament to the transformative potential of determination and unwavering dedication to community. It’s not just a tale of personal success, but a narrative of uplifting those around him.

On the East Coast, Boss Blackbee isn’t merely a successful businessman; he is a symbol of hope, growth, and opportunity. Thank you, Boss Blackbee, for your steadfast commitment to your community and your extraordinary achievements.

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