Newspaper Article 1997 – Only memories will remain


Soon there will be nothing left but the memories.

Buildings which once echoed to the voices of hundreds of workers are crumbling as demolition workers prepare the Tomoana freezing works site for the expansion being undertaken by Heinz-Wattie.

The redevelopment of site ends a chapter in the history of Hastings and the New Zealand meat industry dating back to 1881 when William Nelson in partnership with J.N. Williams built a boiling down works at Tomoana.

Over the following century it was developed into New Zealand’s biggest works employing more than 1800 people at the peak of the season, it was closed in August 1994 with the collapse of the Weddel NZ Ltd.

At the time of its closure it had two of the fastest lamb chains in country capable of processing 9.65 lambs a minute and its beef line could handle 800 head a day.

It had its own public wool scour, a fellmongery for sheep skins and the most modern hide tannery, in terms of technology, in New Zealand.

More importantly it provided lifetime employment for generations of families.

Photo captions –

Demolition in progress at the former Tomoana freezing works.

Above and top right: The main fellmongery and rendering department with the landmark Tomoana sign.

Left and right: All that remains of the staff amenities block.

Below: Looking inside the former fellmongery building.

Original digital file


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Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

8 November 1997


The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today

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