05 February 2018
On 1 of February 2018, Tony Hambrook ONZM died peacefully at Mercy Hospice surrounded by his family, in Auckland, New Zealand.
Tony Hambrook was one of the great leaders of the Superyacht Industry taking the helm of Alloy Yachts in 1989 and guiding the company through more than 30 years of building award winning yachts.
A natural born leader, Tony earned the respect and admiration of his employees, colleagues, customers and the industry alike. He had a reputation of being a “no holds barred” leader who would deliver nothing less than a perfect Superyacht to his customers.
Alloy Yachts would build 44 Superyachts and be awarded 38 International Superyacht Awards under his leadership. Many of his customers would return again and again for a yacht built by Tony and his team.
In 2006, Tony was inducted into the Waitakere Business Hall of Fame.
In recognition of his honesty, hard work and outstanding contribution to the worldwide community of Superyachts, Tony was awarded the International Superyacht Society – Leadership Award in 2009.
His country recognised him when in 2007 he was awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for distinguished service in the New Zealand marine export sector.
Tony was raised in Motueka, a small rural town at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. His father had an engineering workshop and Tony became a heating and ventilation apprentice following high school.
He spent years as a member of the Nelson Jaycees, a service organisation known as the “developers of people” and “builders of community”. A reflection of the man he was and the man he was to become.
At almost 30, Tony decided he’d like to build himself a boat. Sourcing a 52-foot Frank Pelin design steel ketch and building the boat in his factory -18 months later, Tony had built his first yacht.
Tony taught himself to sail and after an initial circumnavigation of the North Island, sold up and set off on a three-and-a-half year adventure.
Once back in New Zealand – Tony became a consultant for a company that then played a role in the formation of Alloy Yachts. In 1986 he was appointed Alloy Yachts’ production manager and when the company was sold to New Zealand owners, he was asked to manage the entire business. That was 1989 and Tony was Managing Director until Alloy Yachts closed its doors in 2015.
Every Monday morning Tony would walk the floors of the yard and talk to the men and women on the shop floor. He knew most of the team by name and stopped to ask about family, how the job was going or just give encouragement in his own special way.
He believed in helping the young New Zealanders get a good start and supported the Foundation for Youth Development both financially and also encouraging employees to become mentors. He was committed to the NZ Boating Industry Training Association apprenticeship programme and at times there were up to 50 young apprentices working alongside skilled tradesmen, many of which stayed with the company long after graduating.
Tony opened Alloy Yachts’ doors to the NZ Gateway Programme that brought high school students in to experience working life and assist with helping them decide on career direction with the hope some would choose boatbuilding and engineering.
In 2010, Tony returned to his High School in Motueka to give a speech about what you can achieve in life even when you were from a small town in the South of the country. His speech was an inspiration to the packed school auditorium, shedding light on all the world had to offer for those who wished to see it.
Tony was the President of the NZ Marine Export Group (Marex) for 10 years and was one of the visionaries who launched the first NZ Millennium Cup in 2000 with 28 superyachts competing.
Teaming up with his superyacht building competitors, Tony helped to secure part ownership of the St. Barth’s Bucket ensuring that the much-loved regatta would stay out of the hands of any commercial operators aiming to make a quick buck.
The group, Perini Navi, Royal Huisman, Holland Jachtbouw, Alloy Yachts and Vitters, known amongst themselves as the Magnificent Five went on to become lifelong friends and worked together to influence many superyacht events to ensure the owners would enjoy their boats and keep on building them.
Tony was famous for saying, “No one needs a Superyacht – it is a decision of the heart, not the brain”.
In 2014, Tony bought a 50’ Beneteau with his wife Kristin and once his responsibilites with Alloy Yachts were done, he and Kristin spent the better part of the last three years sailing the yacht through the South Pacific. His life-long dream had come full circle – and he was truly happy.
Tony is survived by his wife Kristin, his two children, two step-children and nine grandchildren.
He also leaves behind the many employees, marine industry peers and friends who are proud and blessed to have known him.
Tony Hambrook, ONZM born 25 August 1946 – 1 February 2018