All Blacks legend Richie McCaw is getting his hands dirty.

Although he has dived into the helicopter business, joining Christchurch Helicopters as a director, shareholder and employee, in his latest venture he is taking a 10 per cent stake in Canterbury's SOL Quarries.

The company has a 15-year permit to dig millions of tonnes of shingle from a new quarry near Christchurch Airport that is the size of about 25 rugby fields, Fairfax reported.

Joining SOL was a chance to learn about running a business, McCaw said. The company took two years and spent $500,000 to get approval for the quarry.


However, his new venture is something out of left field.

"For me, I had no bloody idea," McCaw told Fairfax. "I haven't done anything except to stand and observe. And that was one of the reasons I was keen to be involved."

It was different to his business ambassador roles, he said. "Obviously as an ambassador, whether the business survives or goes well or not, you are not really affected, but when you're a shareholder you take a different sort of interest."

He's also received positive, and comical, feedback from his Facebook followers, with one noting "you always dug deep Richie nothing new", while another said, "Could you get any more down to earth?"

McCaw said he had known SOL co-owner Ben Dormer since playing rugby with him in a Crusaders Colts team 15 years ago.

He had been involved in small businesses previously and "some had gone all right and some hadn't".

Being a silent partner hadn't always worked for him, he said. "Putting money into something and just hoping for the best - to be honest I've had a wee dabble at that a couple of times ... you sort of have to trust someone else and I don't think that's always the right way."

SOL seemed like an opportunity, considering demand for shingle in the Christchurch rebuild, and local road building, he said.