Tasman Joseph McKee


Tasman (Tas) was born in Nelson, NZ and completed a BSc in chemistry and geology at Victoria University College in 1931.

In 1932 he established Fruitgrowers Chemical Company with his father and brother. Over nine years he developed colloidal sulphur, a fungicide that became important to the New Zealand fruit industry.

In 1938 the McKees established Lime and Marble Ltd to supply the local industry. In the 1950s the company became involved in mineral exploration and development projects, which used helicopters to reach remote areas.

Tasman Joseph McKee was one of the most important and influential people to have been involved in the New Zealand minerals industry. Tas was also a dedicated member of the AusIMM. He was a Councillor for New Zealand from 1965 until his death in 1973 and was the driving force behind the establishment of the AusIMM’s New Zealand Branch, becoming the first Chair of the Branch from 1966 to 1967.

When we consider professionals like Tas McKee, what they stood for and how they acted, we begin to gain an insight into service and standards that can be used as a benchmark for our industry and profession.

Image courtesy Tasman McKee Family Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library.

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