In New Zealand fibrous plaster was said to have commenced with the arrival of Robert Wardrop in Dunedin from Victoria about the year 1900. In 1903, he was joined by an Austrian named Ernest Schaefer and began The Carrara Ceiling Company. The name originated from the Carrara marble quarries in Italy. During the early years artists, modellers and craftsmen were imported from England and Australia and the reputation for excellence which is still part of the Carrara name was built.
Over the years Carrara designed and made decorative plaster work for many New Zealand public buildings. Theatres, banks and churches all wore the ornamental styles created at Carrara. Many of the best examples such as The Grand Hotel and the ANZ Bank Head Office have sadly disappeared along with the buildings which housed them.