Early automotive beginnings

Charles Norwood, (born 1871) was an early pioneer in the New Zealand motor industry acquiring an interest in Rowse & Hurrell, a Wellington coach-building firm around the turn of the century. The business soon flourished and Charles Norwood would negotiate the Ford Motor Company agency for the whole of New Zealand changing the name of the business to The Colonial Motor Company.

Later Charles Norwood went on to establish The Dominion Motors in 1912 importing a number of American marques, and from 1930 the firm would begin a long association with Morris Motors (and later BMC).

In 1936, Charles also founded a company he named C B Norwood, it was established to provide finance to The Dominion Motors Ltd.

Charles Norwood was knighted in 1937 for his many civic achievements which included the founding of the New Zealand Crippled Children Society, the Wellington Free Ambulance and the Norwood Trust.

The Norwood family would continue to make a significant commitment to welfare and sport over many years, as well as visible gifts to the city of Wellington in particular relating to the Botanic Gardens.

Opportunities in post-war farm mechanisation

Walter Norwood (later Sir Walter) was born in 1907 to his parents Sir Charles and Lady Rosina Norwood. Young Walter joined Dominion Motors in 1926 and played a prominent part in the development of the business to its final size including pioneering the assembly in New Zealand of the first Morris vehicles to be imported in CKD (completely knocked down) form.

Walter was in England at the time Harry Ferguson launched the Ferguson TE20 tractor and immediately saw the potential, making a successful bid for the New Zealand distributorship. The first shipment of tractors would land just before he himself arrived back in the country!

From 1948, C B Norwood Ltd would become the trading company for the Norwood Family's tractor and farm machinery activities. Assembly and parts warehousing was established at Palmerston North and the company's first retail store was opened in Carterton the same year commencing a history of retail operations that continues today.

The business prospered and remained under the Norwood family's control until 1978 when it was sold to Dalgety, a stock and station firm.

New Directions

Since the mid 1980's C B Norwood has operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zuellig, a privately owned distribution group with interests throughout Asia-Pacific.

The 1980's also saw franchise changes with Kubota tractor distribution merged into the business, now re-named C B Norwood Distributors Limited.

In 1985 the company also began an association with the New Holland brand after taking on distribution of the Sperry New Holland harvesting franchise.

This would be the first step towards a new direction for Norwood as subsequent mergers in the global farm machinery industry would result in the company being awarded the Ford New Holland distribution rights (1989), and Fiatagri (1993).

C B Norwood relinquished the Massey Ferguson agency in 1993.

By 1995, the unified New Holland "blue leaf" brand had emerged from the previous separate product lines and heritage of Ford New Holland, and Fiatagri.

In 1996 C B Norwood established a new business division, eQuip to import and distribute agricultural and materials handling equipment to complement its main tractor and harvesting brands.

In 2004 C B Norwood entered into an agreement with CNH Global to distribute the Case IH agricultural brand in New Zealand. Established as a separate operating division at Palmerston North, the Case IH NZ Operations team continues to market a full range of Case IH tractors, harvesting equipment and seeders through the Case IH dealer network.

In September 2007 C B Norwood established a new operating division to represent Kuhn SA and will distribute Kuhn farm machinery through the existing Kuhn authorized dealer network.