Magazine Article – Wool Department Does “Sensational Job”


Our wool department at Ahuriri outdid themselves this year by selling over 79,000 bales, compared with 66,655 in 1979 and 64,343 in 1978. Managing Director Athol Hutton says, “They did a sensational job!”

The wool department’s job, as Wool Manager Clarrie Schdroski explains it, is “to sell growers’ wool to their best advantage, or however the grower wants his wool disposed of. We guide growers in the best methods of selling, help them get the best prices for their wool.”

It was this department that pioneered, on the east coast, the novel method of “selling by sample,” beginning in 1977. Selling by sample, rather than by conventional bales, now accounts for over half of wool sold, and contributed greatly to this year’s record-breaking total.

Ninety per cent of the wool is procured by the mercantile department – but that is another story. Shown here are a few of the 75 wool department employees who contributed to the “sensational job.”

Tom MacMillan, inward foreman, is the front-line man, dealing with growers, getting trucks in and the wool off, handling 1000-1500 bales daily. From a farming background himself, Tom knows how wool is produced and recognises all the brands.

Nick Reynolds, wool sampling officer, operates the machine that takes a “grab sample” out of each bale by puncturing it and yanking out a hunk of wool, which Nick inspects to make sure it is true to type. These samples are then amalgamated into a 5kg minimum sample ready for buyers to inspect. Another nearby machine removes “core samples” sent to Wellington for analysis by the NZ Wool Testing Authority.

Errol Davis, valuer and field officer, types the wool, observing length, yield, characteristics, etc., and puts a value on it. Errol has been in the wool business since he finished high school. “His job starts with the wool on the sheep’s back,” says Clarrie Schdroski, “and doesn’t stop until the hammer goes down.” The bales in this photo are stacked for “conventional selling” which takes up a lot of floor space. Buyers will inspect each opened bale.

Stuart Elton, scales clerk supervisor, left, talks to John McCarthy (right) storeman, while Richard Lenden, storeman, listens in. “Our job is to achieve a balance of the client’s wool,” says Stuart. Which means that every piece of wool, including that little hunk on the floor, belongs to somebody and must be accounted for. Stuart is also president of the Hawke’s Bay Storemen, Packers and Warehousemen’s Union.

Selling wool creates paperwork faster than the sheep can grow the wool. And one wrong number can create havoc, so the office work requires concentration and accuracy. Here are some of the staff who keep it under control: On the right is Wendy Workman, typist, receptionist and computer operator. Centre is Maureen Shuker, pay clerk. On her right is Harold Robertson, work study officer. Behind him are Dick Taylor (standing), auctioneer, Keith Graham, clerk, and Peggy Levet, clerk.

On a Saturday in June, everybody is busy preparing for the final sale of the year at Ahuriri. Sales attract buyers representing almost every country in the world. The long rows of boxes hold samples for “sale by sample.” There are about 5000 bales in one sale, and every bit must tally with incoming records. Shown here, from the left, are: Roger Moroney, supervisor on the main show floor; Clarrie Schdroski, wool manager; Peggy Levet, clerk; Errol Davis, valuer; and Lockie Grant, field officer.

A Wool Field Day at Ahuriri attracts wool-growers from all over the area. J. K. McKenzie, mercantile manager, is shown opening the meeting, where growers receive the lastest [latest] information on better ways of growing, classing and marketing wool. Similar field days are held in other towns.

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Article from HBF Info magazine, unknown date

Business / Organisation

Hawke's Bay Farmers' Co-op Association Ltd

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Magazine article


  • Errol Davis
  • Stuart Elton
  • Keith Graham
  • Lockie Grant
  • Athol Hutton
  • Richard Lenden
  • Peggy Levet
  • Tom MacMillan
  • John McCarthy
  • J K McKenzie
  • Roger Moroney
  • Nick Reynolds
  • Harold Robertson
  • Clarrie Schdroski
  • Maureen Shuker
  • Dick Taylor
  • Wendy Workman

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