Ryan, Rupert Thomas Interview

Today is 24th April 2017. I’m interviewing Rupert Ryan of Hastings. Rupert’s going to tell us something about his family since they came to New Zealand and settled in Hawke’s Bay. Thank you Rupert; would you like to carry on?

Thank you Frank. On my mother’s side – my mother was born to George and Isabella Nilsson, and they lived in Middle Road and she had several sisters and brothers. And my father – on my father’s side, he was Thomas Ryan; he was born in Elsthorpe to Michael and Sarah Ryan who had come out and they had settled a rehab [Farm Settlements for Returned Soldiers] farm at Elsthorpe along with, you know, quite a few other people in that area. So my father and his sister basically owned the farm when their parents passed away, and they were farming it in partnership with each other.

But then my father got quite interested in what was happening on the flats with processing, and he became quite friendly with Sir James Wattie so he eventually started graduating down to the flats and bought a bit of ground at Twyford and started growing peas which were hand picked for Sir James Wattie. He always tells me the story that Sir James Wattie started with peaches … canning peaches; but one year they had a disastrous year where there was [were] no peaches because of frost and weather … there was [were] no peaches for the factory. So Sir James called a meeting of all the growers and wanted suggestions on what else they could do. So someone came up with the idea of growing peas, and there was quite a bit of fuss in the room ‘cause first of all they said, “Well we don’t even know if we can grow peas in Hawke’s Bay”; and then the second thing was another gentleman stood up and said, “Well even if we can grow ‘em, what are we going to do with them? What are we going to do with these peas? Where are we going to sell ‘em?”

But anyway, they progressed on from there and they started hand-picking peas. And then my parents moved on to a property on the corner of Lyndhurst and Pakowhai Road which they purchased, and when I was a kid going to Mahora School I recall that all that surrounded us was sweetcorn fields. There was no houses whatsoever; we were living completely out in the country.

So I started my life at Mahora School. I’ve got two older sisters, Cushla and Rosalind; I’ve got two younger brothers, Adrian and Hugo; and we’re still very very, very close as a family today; we’ve never fallen out, even though there’s been some pretty hard decisions to be made, you know, as life goes on amongst families, and so on and so forth.

So I started at Mahora; I was then a first day pupil at a new primary school, Frimley Primary. And then from Frimley Primary I was a first day pupil at the first intermediate school in New Zealand, Hastings Intermediate. And then from Hastings Intermediate I didn’t quite make the Ross Shield – they said I was too fat and slow, but anyway I tried. [Chuckles] And from Hastings Intermediate we went to Lindisfarne College. My father Thomas was quite instrumental in getting the College started, and he and Henry O’Kane planted down all the playing fields initially. And even though it was a boarding school and we just lived across the road, I was packed off to Lindisfarne College.

So I watched my father progress through the pea growing era, and Sir James Wattie had a meeting with him one day and said, “I’m going to bring in some stationary Chisholm Rider pea viners”. And my father said, “Well, I wouldn’t mind bringing one in as well”, so he brought one in himself and that was stationed on the corner of Ormond Road and Evenden Road.

Down by the Red Shed?

It was in the Red Shed. And that was stationed there and the procedure was that we would go out and mow the peas, we’d load them into trucks, we’d cart the pea vines to the viner, and then we would fork them into the pea viner, and then we’d have to fork the ensilage out the back. And we used to use the ensilage during the winter to feed stock.

So it was quite labour-intensive; there was a truck driver, a mower driver, couple of people on the truck – that’s four or five; two people forking – five, six, seven – somebody filling the boxes the peas … eight … and a couple out the back, so probably ten to twelve labour units to run one stationary pea viner. And then we would cart the peas to Sir James’s factory in wooden boxes and we’d slide them through a window. The first year I helped I remember sliding through the window into the factory on rollers, on fruit rollers.

And then we got into a period of course with the Second World War when you couldn’t import any more of these pea viners, so my father and Henry O’Kane set about building two more themselves. And they pulled the original pea viner apart, and they went down to Dannevirke with all the steel bits and they had them moulded in the Dannevirke Refinery, which is just on the right-hand side going into Dannevirke. So they built two more, and one of those was stationed alongside the first one on the corner of Evenden Road and Ormond Road, and the other one was located at Twyford … towards the end of Twyford on the left hand side.

So after about three years of pretty intensive work, my father and Henry decided that … why don’t they take the pea viners out to the paddock? So they mounted one of them on truck’s chassis and truck wheels, and they cut down a pickup, and they towed the pea viner into the paddock – and we’ve got photos of those. So all that was required then was someone had to mow; and then we had a tractor driver; we had someone on the pickup at the front forking the peas in, just making sure everything was okay; and the peas came out the side and all the ensilage came out the back.

Now for two years they were the first mobile pea viners in the world. We had a visit from Americans on one winter, I remember vividly; and another visit we had was from Russians; and they came out and Russell Orr took a movie of that visit with the Russians.

So from there we progressed. Sir James imported some FMC pea viners which was [were] tow behind. And at that stage we were still using or my father was still using his Chisholm Rider tow behind mobiles. And we used to work in the … Sir James’d ring up when he got behind, and said you know, “Can you come and help us harvest?” And we’d go in the paddock and harvest. And in their wisdom they’d cut down the wheels on these Fordson Major tractors so that they could go a bit slower, but of course because the wheels were so small – the rear wheels, to get the gearing lower – the minute we got twenty millimetres of rain they all got stuck. So then Sir James said, “Well, drop the viner off and you can go around towing them all” – with our big tractor. [Chuckle] So we went around towing them all, [chuckle] and he paid us the same amount as if we were harvesting. [Chuckle]

And then FMC brought out a new model of the green pea viners, which my father imported, but unfortunately we had a lot of trouble with that because the screens in the pea viner were designed to work in very dry conditions. And the screens that came out basically were a total disaster if there was any rain or the material was wet. So my father and Henry O’Kane redesigned the screens, and they came up with an idea that was successful; and the FMC engineers came out and asked my father whether they could use that design because it was better than what the originals were. Yeah – amazing times really – amazing times.

I just recall an interesting point, I feel – I just recall my father mentioning he bought some land once, and he paid £100 an acre; three months later he planted a crop of peas and he grossed £100 an acre in the first year so quite difficult to do that sort of thing today.

Absolutely. Coming back to the family – your brothers and sisters all went to Mahora School – did they go to Frimley too?

Yes – they basically followed me all the way. Well, I was the first one. The Hastings Intermediate, the way I understand it, was built because there a great wave of bloody kids coming through, and the other schools couldn’t cope.

So did you play any sports at school?

Rugby.

You said you were too big for …

I know – the Ross Shield, but I made the First XV, ‘cause they were short of a little fat kid.

You were never …

[Laugh]

[In] fact I’m exactly the same weight as I was then, when I was playing First XV Rugby – eighty-three kilos. And we had an incredible career with rugby at Lindisfarne, it was unbelievable! They brought in a Welsh half-back to coach us. He was mind-boggling … we would have died for him.

Can you remember who he was?

Taffy Williams.

And those days, who was the rector of ..?

Scougall. But then he went, and then Arthur Francis. There was a bit of a cloud over Scougall but I never saw anything wrong.

And so you did your whole time there, you did four years?

Yep. Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Form, yeah.

And you came home then to work with ..?

No, no – I looked at what Muldoon was doing, and like a bloody idiot I thought I’d like a new car – you know what kids are like. [Chuckle] Back here somewhere he could’ve had brain fade, and he couldn’t get them. So they had a plan that if you had half the money in overseas funds, you had immediate delivery. But if you wanted a new car, there was a two to five year waiting list, depending on the model. So me and my mate hived off to Queensland, and we cut sugar cane for a year. Oh, we were tough, mate; holy pink! I’ve still got … look at that! And that’s from cutting bloody sugar cane.

We knew how to work!

I know a lot of farmers, – that’s all they know, and they’re too scared to stop because they don’t know anything else. But they don’t find anything else until you stop.  So … yeah, so that was Lindisfarne College …

So, yes – so you went cutting sugar cane to get some overseas funds …

Correct.

Was this to bring a Holden in?

No it wasn’t; I brought a Volkswagen in – a Beetle, a 1962 Beetle. I paid … I came home with £450, and the Beetle was £915 brand new. It was a brilliant car, I wish I still had it today. I did about three hundred thousand miles in that time, and … the gear … we’d all go on holiday; we went on holidays in it with kids, and – unbelievable!

To this day, I couldn’t find reverse …

[Chuckle] Oh yeah, you had to push it down …

I thought I knew …

[Chuckle]

and I was mechanically minded.

You did have to push down on the lever; it went through a gate.

I couldn’t shift this thing!

[Laughter] Yes, so that was … You must have some vehicles you wish you’d kept?

Oh yes …

[Chuckle] But you couldn’t afford to in those days, could you?

I know. And you were still single those days?

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

So what did you do when you came back to Hawke’s Bay?

I helped my father for twelve months, and then he sort of suggested it mightn’t be a bad idea if I went to Massey College. But I looked at Massey College and they had a two-year course, and I said, “I haven’t got time – I’m not waiting two years to get started in business”. But during the middle of that year they actually introduced the first one year course, so I went to Massey College for one year and gained a diploma in sheep farming. In fact I’m proud to say I went to university, because about five weeks before the end of college, Massey was turned into a university by decree of Parliament, so … I claim I’ve been to university, and I’ll [laugh] argue with anyone about that. [Laugh] So it was a brilliant course – it just taught me so much lateral thinking as far as accounting goes; keeping figures accurately; and especially, you know, talking to people, or having relationships with people as far as, you know, farm visits go, and so on and so forth. It was an amazing experience … amazing.

So when you came back you were ready to start business ..?

I was; I was. During the year at Massey by the way, I should mention they play AFL [Australian Football League, or Australian Rules Football] against Lincoln once a year; and they were short of guys for AFL. I was playing in the First and Second XV for the rugby team and they came and grabbed me, and they said, “You’ve been in Aussie for a year – you can come and play for the AFL team.” We went down to Christchurch – holy pink! That ferry trip – holy pink! [Chuckle] Oh, that was a rough weekend! [Chuckle] And all my mates were down there, and they just thought it was hilarious. [Chuckle] The whole thing was just a shambles.

That’d be strange, converting to AFL?

[Chuckles] Oh … it was amazing.

AFL were playing rugby or playing AFL?

No, we were playing AFL. I got into trouble ‘cause we were losing badly and I got sick of my mates, so I started running around tackling everybody, but you’re supposed to stay in a certain area so I got yellow-carded. [Laughter]

I left Massey; came back home and I was helping my father, and at the same time I started growing my own crops as well as helping him. So we just went from there.

This was on land you leased?

I leased a paddock from my father, and as a couple of years went on I realised that, you know … that one paddock wasn’t going to cut much mustard. So I talked to him about the possibility of buying the paddock from him, but I said, “I only want to buy it if I can buy next door as well”, you know – get a bit of area round us. And there was block came up from – it was called the Meech auction – block came up next door and we were successful in getting a couple of pieces of that, so that was my base.

And that was the start of it all …

Yeah.

you became Johnny Appleseed …

Oh, no – it was quite a while before we grew apples.

On the Meech block?

Oh yeah. No, no – we were cropping for some time. We were cropping, and I realised early on that the key to a business in agriculture was a constant cash flow. So on purpose I set out to try and harvest crops twelve months of the year, and we almost succeeded; we probably harvested over about ten months – okay? You know, winter crops and summer crops. And I was successful in supplying beetroot to three factories in the same season, and I’m the only person I believe that’s ever done that; and that was Unilever, Wyona and Wattie’s. And then I was approached by Douglas Walker, a man who I’ve got the greatest admiration for, and he offered me a bean contract with Unilever; and I bought a single row Mather & Platt harvester and leased one off Digby Smith, and we grew five hundred acres of beans. We grew those for about four years. In the third year we had a bit of a disaster because it started raining New Year’s Day, and it rained every day of January except for one day, and we lost about three hundred acres of beans because you know, we were growing on pretty marginal ground – wasn’t drained then, properly.

One of the irritations of my business life is that we were offered loans by the Rural Bank of New Zealand, and they were two or three percent to do development work and we borrowed I think £10,000 to do tile draining and what-have-you. And we wouldn’t have been able to do it without that loan, but when the Rural Bank was disbanded those loans turned over to commercial loans, and we ended up paying twenty-five percent. Just disgraceful. And you know, none of us did anything about it – to this day I’m still really upset that we didn’t all go on strike; we were gullible. We did – we just took it! We just bloody took it!

And you know, I had $500,000 out.

[Chuckle] Whooh! Oh, bloody hell! Well you know, you borrowed $100,000, you paid $100,000 interest in four years and you still owed $100,000 – [it] was hard pretty hard going.

Telling me! But anyway – we didn’t have the strength to go and stand as a group.

No.

They picked us off as individuals; we didn’t stand together.

No. But that’s our problem as farmers – we’re independent and individual. It’s very difficult to get a bunch of people together to protest like we did with the apples.

So anyway … five hundred acres … could you sleep at night?

No, we were workin’. Worked day and night; we didn’t stop. Seriously. I had guys that would work three full days … three twenty-four hour days, and on end; wouldn’t stop. Bloody incredible! So yeah …

So that was the basis I guess of setting yourself up …

Yeah.

… getting some land …

During that period we just bought a few blocks here and there as they became available. And then I got a little bit disenchanted with the cost of fuel and the cost of machinery input year after year, and that’s when I sort of looked at going into pip fruit …

Permanent crops.

Yeah. Going into permanent crops; hopefully there wasn’t quite as much energy required as far as fuel goes, and machinery goes.

Did you plant the home block here first?

No. No, no … was the Meech block, yeah. Well Dad said, “Put a few trees in to try it for a while”, and so I planted fifty acres. He just about went spastic! [Chuckle]

That’s about twelve or fourteen thousand! [Chuckle] But you picked up some good years through there, didn’t you?

Well we did with our Red Delicious and Granny Smiths – we did pick up some good years. Oh, but oh my goodness, the way … you know, our compliance in those days … I mean we’d stack Granny Smiths six bins high outside for two months; then we’d process them. [Chuckle] It was disgraceful! [Chuckle] There’d be a great pile of apples sitting outside, and we’d just chug away.

Did it really hurt them?

Mmmm … put it this way Frank, [chuckle] I don’t think it did them any good. [Chuckle]

What was the option?

Yeah. Look at the vibrant industry we’ve got now.

And the fact it was owned by so few people; in our area every family …

Had a good living.

But today fifty acres I guess, would be an economic unit?

Doubt it.

Some of these new operators are quite good. People like … the doctor’s son?

Bostock?

Bostock.

He’s fantastic – not bad for a school teacher. [Chuckle] Yeah. And at that stage I had to deal with A B Smith, who was very innovative at [in] his time in orcharding and other things, and I was a founding shareholder in Hawke’s Bay Fruitpackers Limited. So I was involved in that from its inception, and that only got off the ground because of A B Smith’s drive and foresight. And then from that point on … we packed there for some time … but then we came to the realisation that unless I was totally integrated, that I wouldn’t succeed as an orchardist. So I decided I had to do my own packing; that I had to do my own coolstoring; that I had to load my own containers; I had to do my own foreign exchange and I had to do my own marketing, and that’s what I set out to achieve. And I believe I was probably the first person to export apples to the UK under permit from the Apple & Pear Board, outside of the single desk system. So anyway, the business just progressed from there.

And are you still picking your own?

No, I’m basically out of it now, yeah – basically out of that now. Wish I wasn’t; you can’t do everything, though, can you?

No, you can’t.

[Laughter] You’d like to do everything. [Chuckle]

So that was the first planting of fifty acres …

Yeah, we just kept planting; we just kept planting at that rate, probably every year almost.

So what did you end up with then, in orchard?

Oh goodness, about two hundred acres. And we do a lot of outside work too – we packed for other people, we coolstored for other people, we sold apples for other people. I quickly discovered the importance of, you know, making sure that you were able to pay people on or before the date that you said you would pay for their product. And so I developed sort of an intuition; whatever date I thought I’d be able to pay them, I’d add a month and that’s what I’d tell them; and I’d always pay them two to three weeks earlier than what I told them, and that always got a very favourable response; very favourable response – not just dragging on and making excuses, and so on and so forth.

Well during this period of all the orchard development you got married as well?

Yes – yeah.

Where did you meet your wife, and where did she come from?

I met my wife actually in Sydney originally, when we were coming back from cane cutting. She lived in Christchurch, so I didn’t see her probably for a year or a year and a half. I actually gave her a ring when I was down there playing AFL; [chuckle] I’d kept the phone number. So that was a couple of years later – yeah, so … No we had three children, three lovely children. Samantha was the oldest, then Kurt and then Adam and they’re all very successful; got lovely families … I’m very blessed.

Are they involved in the industry at all?

Kurt’s involved in apples and agriculture; Adam worked in agriculture for some time and then decided that the amount of hours we did and how much money we made, we were crazy, so he said, “ I’m out.” He came home one day, said, “I’m selling my tractor and I’m getting out of this; this is ridiculous!” [Chuckle]

And the problem with farming I see, is you know, you take your grandchildren out and they get keen as mustard. But when they turn sixteen you’ve got to talk them out of it; but they’ve got to go and learn to be a doctor or a builder or something, and say, “When you’re a successful builder, then you go and buy your own farm.”

Is the motor home yours?

I use it two or three times a week. If I go out for a beer at Shed 2 I just take it and I stay the night. I don’t have to drive; perfect home.

I’ve got a caravan; I’ve travelled all over New Zealand in the last five, six years.

Fantastic, isn’t it? Oh, wow!

We go away every six weeks somewhere different; forty vans normally end up going.

Forty vans?

And caravans.

Malcolm Walker?

Yeah, Malcolm Walker …

He’s got a camper van, hasn’t he?

No, he’s got a motor home. It’s a good group.

If you want to stop for a night … just stop; see a nice stream, park under a tree, have a glass of wine, go for a swim in the river … wonderful!

Because I only had a small car I didn’t want a big … it’s been wonderful. Yeah, I’ve got a proper caravan this time.

I swear by a motor home – they’re so flexible. I mean, there’s always the argument – caravan, a motor home or a fifth wheeler. I’ll tell you now, the motor home is the most flexible. I could just go out there now, start it up and go to East Pier, stay the night. You’ve got to hook up, you’re doing this and that … I swear by it.

They’re wonderful … I think that’s a great idea to be able to go over to East Pier, and [chuckle] park it up. [Chuckle]

The sun comes up in the morning, and I’m in a million dollar apartment. [Laughter] Beautiful … yeah.

Do you fish, or anything like that?

Yeah, I do a bit of trout fishing. I spent all my life diving; I’ve never been a real big fisherman on boats, I spent my whole life diving. I’ve done thousands of hours diving … thousands of hours; and I’m sort of more hand to hand combat sort of a fellow. And you know, to be honest the fish stocks are so bad in places on the coast at times, you know; you go out for eight hours in the hot sun and come home with a small gurnard. [Chuckle] I can think of better things to do. Actually I found a new bait, which is fantastic – I never miss to get fish these days. I found Eftpos. [Chuckle] I get a fish whenever I want one. [Laughter]

Talking about your motor home – I had a Landcruiser with a sleeper on the back that we used to …

I’ve seen them; I’ve seen them, yeah.

duck shooting, and … do you duck shoot?

I used to be a huge hunter. And we started catching deer and keeping them alive – like, it was a challenge to keep them alive, and I can’t kill anything today. I’ve gone off the … I’m amazed; I was so keen as a hunter, and I’m completely amazed how I’ve switched to saving things rather than kill them.

Now coming back to your children – grandchildren?

Yes, yeah – got grandchildren.

What age are they?

Well they range from twenty-five down to five actually. Good range of grandchildren, they’re all doing well.

You’d probably be the same as I was – probably didn’t spend a lot of time with your children when they were young?

No, you’re right … you’re right!

And now I’m living it through the grandchildren.

I know, you’re right!

And I think to myself, ‘God!’

That’s right, yeah. You’re right, yeah. Oh my goodness, you didn’t spend much time with the kids – I mean it was the … you know, the years you had children, you were developing businesses and what-have-you, and so on, yeah.

You haven’t got a sheep farm or anything?

Yeah – well we run about seven or eight thousand lambs in the winter on cropping ground. I’ve got a small manufacturing business which makes jugs … makes measures. Yeah.

Yes, I remember when you started that. That just happened, didn’t it?

Well we were buying $100,000 worth of chemicals a year, and no one had anything to measure them in; we were using old boots and … dare I say it … milk bottles, and putting them back [chuckle] in the system, so I wouldn’t say they would pass compliance today. [Chuckle] So I set out to make my own; I got so irritated that the salesman who sold me the chemicals – I said to one guy, “Look, I bought the chemicals; now go away and find me something to measure them in.” He came back a week later, said he couldn’t find one. I said, “It’s ridiculous!” I said, “Okay, I’m going to design and make my own.” So I started by commissioning a guy – I gave the design of a five litre jug – and we commissioned a guy to build the mould. And it was very expensive in those days; you can probably do it for a fraction of the price today. And it’s two and a half ton of R22 steel; got six moving blocks in it, and it’s still pumping out jugs today. So for some time that was the only five litre jug available in the Southern Hemisphere, but [of] course we’ve been copied quite a bit lately.

And do you still have any interest in places like Farm Products? The corn ..?

Yeah, yeah – no, still own the corn, yeah.

So you really have a very diverse interest base, don’t you?

It’s called a rush of blood to the head. [Chuckle]

That probably … unless you can think of something else, I think we’ve probably just about covered it all, haven’t we?

Mmm. What about our march to Wellington with four hundred orchardists?

Tell us about that …

It irritated me the Australians wouldn’t take our apples. And we had years where the money wasn’t all that good – we had some pretty tough years in apples, and it seemed to me looking at the other apple growing economies around the world, they all had a local market. And I decided that four million people in New Zealand wasn’t really a local market, but we had the potential … well, just Sydney would’ve doubled our local market – just one state …

[Speaking together] Oh, absolutely.

… you know, ‘cause there’s five or six million people in Sydney. So I went on a campaign to lobby the politicians to make a bit more fuss about getting into Australia, and you know, people came to me and said. “Oh yeah – absolute total waste of time!” But we succeeded; we got there in the end … we got there in the end.

When you stand as a group you’ve got a lot of strength …

Well I think that the only thing that got us to the point of succeeding and making a fuss, was that we managed to fire up everybody in a concerted effort. But I really think looking back, it’s ‘cause we were Aussie-bashing, [chuckles] you know, and it was sort of the common … Hey, Aussies are friends of ours I know, but they were a little bit sort of … we were a little bit competitive with them – how do you put it kindly? [Chuckle] So I think that’s what touched the raw nerve – we were abusing the Aussies.

Well, we still can’t get apples in, can we?

Anyway, we took a steam train to Wellington. We formed a committee to fight the battle; we employed some professional help, because I said to everyone, “We’re all busy – we’re doing this, and doing that”. And we decided we’d march on Parliament, and there was a lot of controversy on how we would do this – how would we achieve a concerted front, marching on Parliament? And I came home one night, and I had a grandson … he was only about four … and he heard me talking to the others about what we were doing. And he was crazy about steam engines; he suddenly piped up and said, “Grandad, take a steam engine!” I went to bed, and I woke up in the morning … ‘that’s not a bad idea!’ You know, something bloody dramatic. So I rang Mainland Steam in Porirua, asked them what would be possible, and they agreed to hire me ‘Gloria’, a magnificent old steam engine – absolutely amazing! So ‘Gloria’ pulled us to Wellington. That was a dramatic trip, I can tell you. We left the the rail head at five-thirty in the morning.

And got to Wellington …

Yeah – at quarter to twelve, dead on time. The Wellington City Council I must say, were incredibly co-operative in closing off streets and offering us help; they love marches – it’s a bit of razzamatazz.

It profiles the city, doesn’t it.

Yeah. But when we wanted to have a march in Hastings, they wouldn’t allow us one. The Hastings City Council wouldn’t allow us to march, but we did anyway, we didn’t take any notice of them; we thought, ‘what can they do? Can they arrest us?’

You took tractors, didn’t you?

Yeah, we took tractors and hydraladas …

All right, unless there is something else you can think of …

No … oh, I’ll probably think of something.

Rupert, thank you very much for sharing that with me.

[Shows object] This movie here has got modern canning. [Break in recording]

He stood up and he said, “You know, guys – I’m really sick of the way you are mistreating my bins and my boxes, and you know, if you don’t start playing the game a wee bit I’m going to start charging you for using them.” He said, “I was coming back over Takapau Plains and there’s a car flying towards me. And what did I see on the roof rack? One of my tomato cases … wooden tomato cases full of tomatoes – on his roof rack – heading south to Wellington.” He said, “I was so upset, and so irritated. And then I went to see my lawyer”, who was Bramwell I think, Mr Bramwell. “And we were looking for some papers, and he sent his secretary to find the papers. She came out with one of my tomato cases full of papers. In my lawyer’s office. And I’m telling you, gentlemen, they were never supposed to be legal cases; and if you don’t start looking after them I’m going to start charging you.” [Chuckle] And we all clapped. It was a rousing speech about his tomato cases. [Chuckle]

You can remember the times that you’ve seen your bins on other people’s properties …

Oh, full of firewood!

Every year you’d buy so many new bins to replace the ones that people had stolen …

Probably quite a few of us might’ve been guilty of chopping up an ENZA bin to light the fire when [chuckle] we were stuck for wood. [Laughter]

On that note we’ll …

Original digital file

RyanRT1725_Final_Aug19.ogg

Non-commercial use

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).

 

Commercial Use

Please contact us for information about using this material commercially.

Additional information

Interviewer:  Frank Cooper

Accession number

414067

Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.