1939 - Dunedin Taxis - 2011. Over 72 years of unrivaled service to the citizens of Dunedin

In March 1939 Octagon Taxis (Mr Hunt) & Roslyn Taxis (Mr Alec Gardner) amalgamated their companies and formed “DUNEDIN TAXIS”. The building, 32 Octagon, was purchased to be the first headquarters of Dunedin Taxis. Originally operating as a private company owning its own building, licences, cars and employing its own drivers. It also operated its own control room, together with its own office and administration services.

Initial rank space was one car at the door, which eventually grew to a five-car rank with a five-car feeder rank outside the Regent Theatre. Some years later this feeder rank relocated to the centre carriageway of the Octagon. The present day 4 car rank is now located in the lower Octagon, with a 5 car feeder in Stuart St beside St Pauls Cathedral. The initial fleet of about 50 Dodge & Chrysler vehicles was black, with six white ones to cater for weddings. The war years, 1939 - 1945, witnessed the introduction of lady drivers who willingly and capably filled the gaps made when our men were called to defend the Commonwealth.

Twenty-six years later (1965) this pioneer progressive company was sold to owner/driver operators to be known as “DUNEDIN TAXIS (1965) LTD. Ownership of the Octagon building was transferred to the owner-drivers. This was accomplished by Dunedin Taxis Ltd changing its name to Octagon Taxis Ltd, thereby enabling the owner-drivers to form their own Company known as Dunedin Taxis (1965) Ltd, which purchased the building for 25,000 pound. This purchase was arranged by way of three mortgages of 12,000 pound, 6,000 and 7,000 pound. Commitments on the first two mortgages were to be met by profits derived from the leasing and operation of the Manor Place Service Station and from revenue from building rentals. The third mortgage of 7,000 pound held by Octagon Taxis Ltd with a limit of two years was met by a levy on all shareholders of 5 pound per month completing payments in September 1967.

The final stage of transferring Control Room operations and office administration, from Octagon Taxis Ltd, to Dunedin Taxis (1965) Ltd was of concern to the Directors of the day as this involved the taking over of all the book debts of Octagon Taxis Ltd. This involves a large sum of money, in the vicinity of 6,000 pound, seen to be an additional financial burden on shareholders.

The company leased Gardner Motors, Princes Street Service Station and operated it under the name of Manor Place Service Station. All revenue from this source was to be utilised for mortgage repayments. All members promised support of this venture by contributing all their ‘petrol gallonage’. Extensive alterations were carried out making possible a small but efficient garage for the servicing of cars both taxis and private. This together with the employment of a qualified mechanic enabled the facilities to offer A grade service to all customers. It was noted the co-operation and assistance of Europa Oil NZ Ltd (Who held the second mortgage of 6,000 pounds) and Gardner Motors.

In the annual report presented by Chairman J S Lanham at the AGM of Dunedin Taxis (1965) Ltd on Sunday 23rd July 1967 comments on the purchase of Green Island Taxis quote:

“From a purely financial point of view, and bearing in mind our very heavy financial commitments at the present time, this purchase has a great deal to recommend it. By a purchase of the shares of Green Island Taxis Ltd, by Dunedin Taxis (1965) Ltd we would acquire three additional taxi licences, together with four meters and radios. The resale value of these as Dunedin Licences would provide a nett gain approaching 3,000 pound. However the responsibility and problems involved in providing a satisfactory or even adequate service in this Green Island area could well outweigh any financial advantage. This is, therefore a matter requiring very careful consideration by shareholders. There is also mention that circumstances’ surrounding the admission to this organisation of two Kiwi licences is still awaiting finality.”

In the annual report presented on the 28th July 1968 the Chairman notes after incurring initially a total financial liability of $62,000 on the formation of the company, after two and a half years a total of $28,000 or nearly half has already been repaid. Comments that the expectation of the Service Station had fallen short thus asking members to decide on the future as the lease was due to expire. Kiwi taxis were admitted as full shareholders on purchase of shares at $600.00. The company was under taxi licensing review (a three yearly occurrence) and shareholders were asked to “conduct themselves and their individual businesses in such a manner that our case can be presented and received in as favourable light as possible”.

In the Annual report dated 12 July 1970 it is suggested to anyone selling that the shares have been re-valued at $490.00.

We were first

By 1987 the ever-expanding company seized the opportunity and purchased our new headquarters at 177 Leith St, which was formally opened on 7th December 1988. These much larger modern premises allowed for all existing company activities to continue and expand.

Dunedin Taxis (1965) Ltd is owned and operated by Otago drivers who are fully trained and experienced and must adhere to a very strict code of ethics. While being the largest taxi fleet south of Waitaki, we are proud of our clean fleet and the professional presentation of our drivers together with our reputation for safe and courteous service.

Return to the top of the page »