Our History


Trenchmate was founded by Tom Porter in 1999. Tom with his extensive engineering background and vision saw the need for better developed technology in trench shoring.

The first aluminium shoring panels manufactured in NZ were produced in 2000. One of the largest Civil Engineering companies in NZ trialled the product, and asked for a larger range of sizes and configurations.

During this product design process Tom also designed hydraulic testing equipment to test the product in real world situations .The development of this testing equipment proved to be a game changer.

During the period 2000 to 2006 many configurations were developed, manufactured and often tested to destruction. Tom and his team perfected the technology to a world leading standard in late 2006.

Production began in 2007 of Generation 2 Trenchshields and the extensive Versa Shield range. The Versa shield modular system brought a new range of size and configuration options not seen in NZ before. These being Versa shields from 900 to 3100mm long, boxes from 900 square to 3100 square , rectangles of these combinations and lastly Octagonal boxes giving internal diameter from 2m to 5.6metres. Most of these combinations are available to go down to 7.2 metres deep, depending on soil type.

Innovations and points of difference include oversize connection pins and lifting points, and cutting edges on the ends as well as the bottom. We recognise that our product needs to be dragged and lifted, often bringing high loadings from soil stuck to the panels. Therefore typically Versa product that only weighs one tonne has lifting points rated at 26 tonne.Our larger trenchshields weighing 1.7 to 3.2 tonne have lifting points, which combined are rated at 80 tonne.

Our entire product range is designed for a ten year service life, and ease of use and adjustment. It is a pleasure to hear from others in the industry that our product is viewed as a benchmark for both ease of use and quality.

With new owners in 2016, and wanting to continue the tradition of innovation and improvement, the company is developing new products additional to its present range. These will be a comprehensive range of larger rectangular boxes, modular in design to shore excavations where the only solution in the past was expensive sheet piling.