About us



Environmentally friendly & cost effective underground construction solutions

The Smythe family boasts some of the most experienced drillers in NZ- Mike, David, Kevin & Mark, along with fellow shareholder Phil, have achieved many challenging installations over the years with great outcomes for satisfied clients. Their training and guidance have developed motivated, successful teams.

Over the last 52+ years, we have worked with many reputable clients.

Smythe Contractors Ltd timeline

Pioneers of the ‘no dig’ community

Our consultative approach, wealth of knowledge and technical expertise help us to reach the best solution for you. Providing a quality, lasting installation. Our teams are motivated to achieve the highest level for the success of our client’s project, for the benefit of the industry, and to prove ourselves as leaders within the civil construction industry.

We are dedicated to providing you with the best service.

With some of the most experienced drillers in NZ, the Smythe family, Mike, David, Kevin, Mark & Phil have achieved many challenging installations, with great outcomes and satisfied clients. Their training and guidance have developed motivated, successful teams.

Paul Cooke

General Manager

Paul is responsible for the daily operation and effective coordination of the company, our drilling teams and our projects. He came to Smythe’s in 2017 from a long history of delivering and commissioning projects and running waste-water treatment plants throughout the dairy industry. His background and focus on H&S, environmental management, along with contractual compliance ensures we deliver our project objectives efficiently, while meeting and exceeding those of our clients.

Outside of work Paul enjoys family time, the outdoors, keeping fit through hiking, and fishing when time allows.

David Smythe

Business Development Manager

With over 25 years’ experience within the drilling industry both in New Zealand and Australia, David has worked as a Drill Operator on rigs up to 220 ton. His skill and technique is coupled with his experience in best practice procedural development and mud design. David exudes ambition to get the pipe in successfully, whatever the complexity and conditions. It is this long history of experience and innovation that sees Smythe Contractors Ltd being able to offer advice, design and technology with every drill shot project. 

In his spare time, David loves a good day out fishing with his family.

Phil Rush

Senior Drilling Manager

Phil is one of the long term crew, with 26 years’ experience in all pipeline installations including pipejacking, directional drilling, slip-lining, Gas mains, mole ploughing and opencut pipe laying for Smythe Contractors.  In later years, Phil has operated our larger directional drills on the more challenging projects, his experience and composed, steady temperament essential to guide drilling equipment through a range of ground.  His preciseness and unique ability to scope fine grades accurately is second to none in the industry.

Phil loves being out hunting, or at the beach fishing, loving it even more when his kids and dog are there, and has 4 motorbikes in his lounge!

Mark Smythe

Senior Civil Manager

With over 25 years’ experience in pipeline installations with HDD, thrusting, slip-lining, and open-cut pipelaying, Mark’s knowledge and experience in difficult ground conditions plus accuracy in achieving shallow grades is first rate.  He is precise and fastidious with any steering alteration that is required, where tolerance is extremely tight. Mark is responsible for planning drill shots in the most challenging environments, while still ensuring a quality service delivery.

Mark’s family love show jumping, which sees Mark also attending horse shows.

Shiva Surya Vignesh Muthukurumban Nagarajan

Graduate Civil Engineer

Shiva is the new lad amongst the OGs. After a year completing his Masters at University of Canterbury, Shiva joined the team here, and six months later, he says he is enjoying every single day of work.  As Graduate Civil Engineer, Shiva is doing a bit of everything from surveying to project management, and is currently looking after our drilling sections on Tauranga City Council’s project at Tauriko Business Estate, where we are working for JMC Civil Construction. Shiva says the drilling industry is intriguing and he is looking forward to seeing what the future brings with us and within the industry.  He loves music, especially Hip Hop.

Smitha Bhaskar

Quantity Surveyor

Smitha joined the team recently, having completed a Bachelors in Civil Engineering, and then her Masters in Construction Management at the University of Auckland.  As an intern, Smitha assisted scientists in ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) to locate suitable areas for the construction of dams and water supply infrastructure.  With us, she is busy preparing budgets and project estimations, while learning all there is to know about trenchless directional drilling.  Smitha is always laughing, especially in those serious situations. She loves animals, travel and photography, and has her own photography and food blogs!

Zoe Gilling

Office Manager

Zoe has been with the Smythe family since 2015 and is a happy smiley mum to all our staff.  Her warm, friendly welcome is iconic, and there is no problem too big or too small for Zoe. She runs a smooth sailing office and keeps all our finances in check with her diploma in Business Studies majoring in Accounting. Everyone respects and appreciate all she does.

When Zoe isn’t at work, she loves spending quality time with her family and friends.  Did you know Zoe can speak Gaelic?

Our Founder

Mike Smythe

A pioneer in the industry, Mike started Smythe Contractors Limited in April 2000.  With a huge wealth of knowledge and valuable experience in pipeline construction, including trenchless installations, Mike was always keen to offer his expertise on that difficult job.  He instilled a culture whereby it was better to dig for a week with a teaspoon, than to damage other services or utilities.

As a member of the International Society for Trenchless Technology, he was part of many overseas study trips in terms of trenchless installation and pipejacking.  Mike passed away in December 2013 but his legacy continues to live on.

Smythe Construction NZ | Specialist construction and drilling experts.
Servicing Auckland, Waikato, BOP & Wellington.

Interested in working for us?

We always love to hear from specialist Project Managers, Driller/Locators and Support crew. 

Please call us or email your CV including all qualifications, skills and experience