Rheem Water Heater manufacture began in Auckland and Wellington in the late sixties, the first overseas venture of Rheem Australia, an Australian manufacturer of drums & water heaters. Today, it is part of Paloma/Rheem USA, one of the largest manufacturers of water heaters in the world.
Rheem in New Zealand first began manufacturing water heaters in 1969 at Wigan St, a Wellington inner suburb. The first mains pressure model was gas fired; electric water heaters were first manufactured in 1973.
Over the years, the Rheem product range has diversified and has set up manufacturing plants as markets have developed. The most up-to-date technology has been installed to keep Rheem at the forefront of manufacturing techniques.
Some major milestones along the way have been:
- In 1939, BHP purchased a 50% share in the company, which at that time was making drums at Waterloo, Sydney, Australia.
- In 1969 the first New Zealand manufactured mains pressure water heaters were made in Wigan St in Wellington.
- In 1973, BHP purchased the American interest in Rheem Australia Limited, making Rheem an Australian company.
- In 1988, Southcorp Limited (then South Australian Brewing Holdings) purchased Rheem, which then became known as Southcorp Water Heaters.
- In January 2002, Rheem Australia Pty Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary of Rheem Manufacturing in the U.S.A., which is in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of Paloma Industries Ltd in Japan, a world leader in water heater technology and manufacture. Subdsidiaries of Paloma now include Rheem New Zealand, Rheem Australia, Hotstream in China, and Rheem U.S.A.
- A Division of Rheem New Zealand is Hermetic New Zealand. While it has an international reputation for the design, manufacture and supply of tubular electric elements, the Division, also based in Auckland, is the largest producer of water heater elements in Australasia.
- Rheem manufactures about 85% of what is sold in NZ in the Auckland manufacturing facility.
Rheem New Zealand Ltd is headquartered and has a major manufacturing operation in the Auckland suburb of Avondale.
Updated 29th August 2008