Around 100 people have lost their jobs with A & G Price Limited in Thames announcing that the engineering company has gone into liquidation.
Workers ranging from foundry tradesmen, machinists, fitters, welders and engineers were told at a meeting held on Wednesday afternoon.
Foundry worker Shane Egan told RNZ that they were told their contracts were dissolved and, as of now, they were unemployed and not to come to work on Thursday.
He said they were also told there were no guarantees on redundancy.
Rose Walmsley said her husband had just "clocked 30 years" working at A & G Price.
She said it was a sad night for her family. The couple have four daughters, a 7 year old and 6-year-old triplets.
Walmsley said her husband was grateful for the 30 years he got to work there, the friends he had made and the skills he learned.
"As you can expect we are still in shock and sad, very sad. They were a good company to us and this has come as a shock."
She said they were trying to remain positive and thought the job loss could be a sign to explore new options.
Thames-Coromandel District Council Mayor Sandra Goudie said she was shocked and devastated when she learned of the news late on Wednesday.
"I just really feel for everyone involved. This will change the face of our community," she said.
"We just don't have the replacement jobs in our community. The fact of the matter is people will have to look elsewhere, out of town."
She said council was offering its support to everyone involved and affected by the closure.
Adding, she would be making sure Work and Income will be readily available to support everybody involved.
"Contact any one of our elected representatives, council staff, all of us, in any way we can, we will support these people," Goudie said.
"It's just so tough."
The engineering firm was established in 1868, and is one of New Zealand's longest established engineering works.
According to the company's website, two brothers, Alfred and George Price, opened an engineering workshop in Onehunga, Auckland, before opening a foundry and engineering works in Thames in 1871.
Business was thriving around the booming gold mining industry on the Coromandel Peninsula.
In the late 1880s, the company started designing and building steam locomotives, supplying 298 steam and diesel locomotives for New Zealand Rail and others.
With the decline of the rail industry in the 1960s the company moved towards specialised heavy machining and technical refurbishment work.
Goudie said the business was part of the historic aspect of Thames.
She knew generations of families that had been a part of the business.
"They've been one of those businesses that Thames has always been very proud of, so you know it's a loss on many fronts."