Business profile: Menzi Muck

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle and supplied

Menzi Muck’s impressive stability and self-levelling capabilities are just a few reasons why Tough Terrain chose to become its sole dealer in NZ

With most of the North Island being hammered with seemingly endless downpours for months on end, there isn’t any shortage of work for Tough Terrain Ltd, clearing slips, removing debris, and carrying out general remedial work in difficult-to-get-at places with their 13.5-tonne Menzi Muck walking excavators. 

The 13.5T Menzi Muck at work on the North Shore site

Owner George Moore says he was so impressed with the excavators that his company recently become the brand’s sole partner for sales, service, parts, and hire in New Zealand. We caught up with George and machine operator Cam Watson who were operating one of their Menzi Muck extreme terrain machines on a tricky little site on Auckland’s North Shore.

Working alongside the main contractor, Tough Terrain’s job was to supply an operator and machine, to scale down a steep bank and carefully dig down to locate a 300mm stormwater pipe, which was known to be about two metres below the surface. 

George is keen to point out that his company has no intention of becoming the main contractor in any civil construction operation, saying that he’s only interested in the hire of specialist machinery with trained operators. 

On the day of our visit, a minimal amount of bush had been cleared to gain access for the machines. The pipe had already been located with the hole around it safely shored up.

Machine operator Cam says that although the work on this job was being carried out in a relatively ‘tight’ environment with trees and buildings all around, the exceptional stability and a large degree of self-levelling capability of the Menzi Muck made for easy work of the task at hand.

The use of the machine prevented the construction of benches or an access road for a conventional excavator to work from, which George says, would have taken a lot longer to construct and would have resulted in far more soil and tree disturbance. 

Menzi Muck AG

Hunting for water pipes after the floods

Menzi Muck equipment is designed and manufactured by Swiss company Menzi Muck AG, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that there are many unique stability features incorporated into the machines given Switzerland’s notoriety not only for its mountainous topography but also for its legendary reputation for precision and build quality.

While it’s fair to say that Menzi Muck excavators don’t differ immensely from a conventional hydraulic excavator above the slew line, the point of difference, however, takes place below that point.  

George says the machine can also operate in two metres of water or silt, making it ideal for one of the next jobs on the books — a big clean-up in the North Island.

Noting that the machine is road legal — it carries registration plates — we jokingly asked George if he would drive the machine to the next site. However, with a walking speed of approximately 15km/h, one would assume that wasn’t going to happen.  

A more serious question was focussed on transportation, to which Cam told us that although the track width of the machine extends to an impressive 6.5 metres, which allows the Menzi to be operated astride large ditches and creeks, it contracts to under 2.5 metres, making it legal for transportation on the road without the need for any special licence exemptions.

Cam Watson at the controls

When asked if he had his own transporter, George said he preferred to use Hawky Haulage, as they provided him with excellent time-appropriate service.    

While the Menzi Muck company does manufacture machines in smaller sizes — some in 4x2 configuration — George explained that his preference at this point in time is for the 13.5-tonne 4x4 spec’d version.  

The walking excavator’s special features are based on a sophisticated high-tech chassis and the patented boom. Various hydraulic cylinders enable the all-rounder to adapt its wheels and supports to any terrain. In fact, it’s because of this, that in some countries, the Menzi Muck is also called a spider excavator.

Fixed tilting edges on the tracked excavators can be adjusted depending on the task at hand, thanks to the adjustable wheel and claw supports.  

As a result, it’s designed to produce lifting and ripping forces beyond those of conventional excavators. A Menzi Muck weighing 13.5 tonnes, for instance, is said to produce an output similar to that of a 20-tonne tracked excavator.  

New Zealand partnership

Clearing fallen trees at Narrow Neck Beach

George and his team are committed to bringing greater numbers of this innovative machine to our shores, with the goal of the company being, to make these machines readily available and to provide parts, service, and hire across New Zealand.  

The company will be building a nationwide support network alongside a New Zealand-wide hire fleet.

George is committed to bringing in the very best machines into the country to make them as versatile as possible, as such, all machines are fitted with oil quick tilt rotators and factory-fitted traction winches.  

The attachments for these machines are almost unlimited, and the hire fleet boasts an impressive range allowing it to tackle any job that comes in.

Obviously, the machines come with a selection of buckets, but they can also come with any of the below:   

  • Rock drills 
  • Augers
  • Selector grabs 
  • Log grapples 
  • Grapple saws
  • Tree shears 
  • Mulchers 
  • Concrete breakers 
  • Rotary stone cutters 

The hire side of the company has achieved a gold standard Sitewise accreditation and is finalising its prequal submission.  

George has a focus on safety with these machines. allowing complex and traditionally risk-prone jobs to be tackled at a much lower risk rating.  

With this in mind, the company has implemented an industry-leading training programme for all of its operators, ensuring that customers get the most out of these multi-faceted machines.

For more information, contact George Moore 021 197 1972 or email

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