Although Armourguard is a household name these days, we were originally called NZ Night Patrols for our first 30 years. However, a crime that rocked the country paved the way for the name ‘Armourguard’ being created. It followed New Zealand’s first armed payroll robbery, in April 1958. That saw a Canterbury frozen meat company being robbed of £9177 in wages (nearly $1 million in today’s money). Australian security company Mayne Nickless capitalised on fear generated by the hold-up and entered into the NZ market in Auckland with a Morris van that they armour-plated and fitted with bulletproof glass.
Over the next six years they acquired various security companies, including New Zealand Night Patrols, and expanded their services to offer guard, patrols and cash transport operations in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. The armoured vehicles represented a point of difference for the company, so in 1964 it rebranded to Armoured Transport – Mayne Nickless. The name ‘Armourguard’ had come a step closer!
A merger subsequently saw the company’s name change to Armoured Freightways in 1968. Over the next decade, the business expanded to a nationwide network while also developing a electronic alarm monitoring service, Computa-Guard.
Increasing crime, including a $278,000 (over $2 million in today’s money) payroll heist in 1979, saw businesses rush to upgrade their security services. This created a range of security services opportunities for Armoured Freightways.
With opportunities came changes – including the name. On 24 June 1981 we became Armourguard Security, and our familiar blue and white logo and brand look was developed.
The 1980s saw huge growth in new cash technologies such as ATMs and electronic transactions, all of which created security and servicing opportunities for Armourguard on top of its existing security services.
By 1987 the company had five autonomous operations: Armourguard Security, Armourguard Alarms, Armourguard Security Express, ATM ‘Anytime and Armourguard Rescue Services (that had a specialist role at Wellington Airport for a short time).
There were 50 branches in 21 locations. Despite some challenges along the way, by 1997 Armourguard was handling a third of all frontline security and a significant proportion of New Zealand’s cash economy.
American based giant Tyco International purchased the business in 1997.
Over the next 15 years the business invested heavily in modern cash processing technology, resulting in a world-leading facility that had fully automated processing and end-to-end track and trace. Other investments were made in patrol dispatch and staff welfare technologies.
In late 2013 Tyco decided to rationalise its services to purely electronic security services, so the Armourguard brand and the cash, guards and patrols part of the business were sold to New York based investment firm Evergreen International.
Since then, Evergreen has supported Armourguard’s ongoing growth and service innovation by investing in new technologies and buying several new properties for operational facilities.
Armourguard celebrated our 80th birthday in 2019 – an exciting milestone and a credit to all the employees, clients and suppliers who have helped along the way to make us the success we are today.
As NZ’s most experienced security company we are excited about the future that lies ahead. It’s an honour to continue keeping New Zealanders and their property safe.