Weddel’s World 1974

Weddel’s World


KAITI in conjunction with Gisborne Refrigerating Co.

World Wants Fresher Meat

“An extensive tour of South East Asia has convinced me that we should do more processing of beef in this country and get the extra earnings from it,” says Mr Mark Hinchliff, general manager of W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd., who recently visited associated companies and Weddel agents in various countries.

“Labour costs in Japan are rising steeply and the Japanese are finding increasing difficulty in processing meat, with the result that factories in South Korea are now coming into the picture.

“In most cases New Zealand is exporting carcases which have to be thawed out, boned and then re-frozen whereas we should bone it ourselves before shipping. Then it would not need thawing and processing at its destination and consequently would reach the market much fresher.

(Concluded on page 2)


Yugoslavia has followed up its recent purchase of mutton from W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd., with a big order for beef.

Announcing this in Wellington the general manager, Mr Mark Hinchliff, said the beef was shipped from the company’s works at Westfield and Tomoana.

The mutton deal was the first large-scale sale of New Zealand meat to Yugoslavia and represented a major breakthrough in this market.


It is my pleasure to introduce our first quarterly newsletter “Weddel’s World” and to welcome its readers.

The world-wide Vestey organisation of which W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd., form a part, can trace its beginnings in New Zealand to 1911 but over the past six decades we have been somewhat inclined to let our services to the farmer and to New Zealand speak for themselves rather than to publicise them.

But this is an age of communication and it could well be that we have been too reticent about ourselves and what we do.

Hence this newsletter which we hope will bring us closer to our farmer friends, to those who assist us with our processing, transport and shipping and, of course, to those important people, our staff.

We have chosen the title “Weddel’s World” because Weddel is our brand name for all the meat that is shipped from our works at Westfield, Patea, Tomoana and Kaiti and we believe the world is Weddel’s in that our product reaches almost every corner of it. In fact, Weddel products go to more than 70 countries. Every second of the day somewhere in the world someone is eating Weddel meat.

In many of the major meat markets we have our own associated companies – in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Japan, for example, and where we haven’t our own Weddel companies we have our own agents, many of whom have served us for decades.

We believe in keeping close contact with our markets – our own representatives visit them regularly and principals of our overseas outlets frequently come to New Zealand. In this way we assess the needs of every market and strive to meet their individual requirements.

Our aim, too, is constantly to seek new markets and diversify our exports. We have pioneered many markets and promoted many products, frequently supporting the excellent marketing efforts of the New Zealand Meat Producers’ Board.

We at W. & R. Fletcher are fully aware, of course, that what we are able to contribute to New Zealand’s farming production and export earnings is dependent on a large number of people – beginning on the farm itself and ending with the final delivery at Tilbury or Tokyo, San Francisco or Singapore. We appreciate the support and the service we receive and a newsletter such as this gives us the opportunity to acknowledge it.

It also gives me the opportunity, on behalf of us all at W. & R. Fletchers, to extend our best wishes for the future.

General Manager.

Photo caption – Mr Hinchcliff inspects a consignment of Weddel meat in a Japanese cool store.


W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd, are pushing ahead with their $20 million upgrading programme at Tomoana, Patea, Westfield and Kaiti freezing works.

Announcing the programme late last year, the General Manager, Mr Mark Hinchliff, said the investment would involve the construction of new slaughtering and processing facilities as well as new amenities at the works.

The biggest outlay will be at Tomoana (where the first stage has aready [already] started) and Patea where virtually new works are being built alongside the old. The planned rebuilding programme is expected to be completed in time for the 1976 season.

Conflicting regulations in overseas importing countries which could have made some of the original planning obsolete had held the company back from completing the design for the works.

“Now that Britain has made a positive move to join the EEC,” said Mr Hinchliff, “the position has become much clearer and in collaboration with New Zealand authorities the company can now plan its works to meet the overall interests of all the countries with whom we expect to trade.

“This expenditure is an expression of confidence by my company in the meat industry.

“Contrary to some opinions about the entry of Britain into the EEC, we have no fear. Indeed, the world demand for meat is growing and New Zealand will participate in this growth.

“With our own offices in leading importing countries, we are in a position to ensure that the best market returns are made to the producers.

“At these works we anticipate a greater degree of processing which will provide more job opportunities such as cutting and packaging.”

Patea will have a new mutton and lamb killing complex, freezers, cutting rooms and amenities. The new buildings will be constructed adjacent to the existing buildings, some of which will be demolished when the new plant is commissioned.

The new buildings at the Tomoana freezing works will cover more than 1 ½ million square feet. They will comprise a mutton and lamb killing floor, freezing chambers, cool store and staff block.

The killing floor will have the same capacity as the existing one – 19,200 head a day – but it will be larger.

Fresher Meat Wanted
(Continued from page 1)

“This is one major finding I came home with,” Mr Hinchliff said. “The world wants fresher and still fresher meat. New Zealand should be exporting more and more chilled meat. We as a company realise this.

“We pioneered the shipment of chilled lamb cuts to Japan and I was assured that they arrived in excellent condition and were well received,” Mr Hinchliff said. “Chilled beef in Japan also offers considerable potential for New Zealand exporters but we must have better and more frequent shipping services to get it there in order to compete with Australian exporters.

“There is a definite future for grain-fed beef in Japan but the Japanese are reluctant to pay a premium to cover extra costs,” Mr Hinchliff says.

“Because of this, I feel New Zealand producers should proceed slowly in developing this side of the meat industry. At present the principal advantage in running a feed lot operation is to provide continuity of good quality cattle for regular customers when normal pasture conditions are adverse.

“The Weddel set-up in Japan is a strong one and has been operating for many years,” Mr Hinchliff says. “In Hong Kong and Singapore, which I visited, our officers are doing a first-class job with our Weddel brand meat and the future is a bright one – but here again we must improve our shipping services.

“New Zealand farmers and others with whom we are associated can rest assured that we are keeping in the closest possible touch with all our people overseas, who know their market requirements and keep us fully informed. We on our part try at all times to meet those requirements.”

The attractive new works retail shop opened recently by Tomoana features plenty of counter and display space. Ample parking space has also been provided, allowing shoppers to drive right up to the doors.

Photo caption – Sparkling white, fibreglassed walls and ceilings and a new tough waterproof non-skid floor – this is the Westfield Freezing Company’s offal department recently renovated. Seen here is the lamb liver processing area.

Helicopter Saves Sweat And Tears At Tomoana

A helicopter was used to lift 10 heavy air-conditioning units to the top of a 4-storey, slaughter block at Tomoana Freezing Works. What otherwise would have been a big job was accomplished in just a matter of hours.

The units weighed 2000 lbs each. A contractor’s crane working on the site had a maximum lift of three-quarters of a ton. Its jib at full stretch barely reached the top of the building. Even if it had been possible to use the crane, the units would literally have had to be perched on one corner of the roof and from there manhandled to their new positions.

The answer was to hire a helicopter. This was done and a Nelson-based machine flew up to Hastings.

Powered by a French turbine jet, it is specially equipped for handling big lifts.

As Mr G. T. Taylor, general manager of Tomoana, told Weddel’s World: “The helicopter made child’s play of the whole operation. It whooshed the units straight up and on to the roof in one easy lift.”

The air-conditioning units will serve the beef and mutton slaughter floors.

Helping N.Z. To Grow

W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd., is the meat company that has grown with New Zealand and has helped New Zealand grow.

The key to its success in the New Zealand meat industry has been, first, the company’s readiness to adapt to the needs of the buyer wherever he lives; be it in London, Rome or Minnesota. He is the final arbiter of what is wanted and what he is prepared to pay for.

Second, insistence on top quality. This embraces the quality of livestock the company purchases from New Zealand’s sunny pastures and the top prices it is prepared to pay for this top quality.

Third, its emphasis on hygiene. Quality in meat processing where “near enough” is not “good enough”; where hygienic operation and “quality control” are paramount.

It is the continual insistence on this quality, fair trading and regular service of customers that has built the “WEDDEL” (N.Z.) name into the world-wide brand of acceptance that it is today.

Celebrating the centenary of R. and W. Hellaby Ltd., Auckland, are from left, Mr Mark Hinchliff, general manager of W. and R. Fletcher NZ. Ltd., and chairman of the North Island Freezing Companies’ Association, Mr Alan Hellaby, managing director of Hellabys, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr Moyle, and Mr D. H. Steen, chairman of directors of Hellabys.

Your News Is Our News!

Page 4 of succeeding issues of “Weddel’s World” is to be devoted to staff news. This, in the main, will include promotions, transfers, farewells and gold watch presentations; both here and in our overseas offices.

We also intend launching a W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd, “Who’s Who.” In other words, we are going behind the scenes to help members of our far-flung “family” get to know each other even better. Our many valued customers and friends in the meat industry, may find this feature of equal benefit.

There may in one issue be a round-up of foremen from our various works. The next might be about folk in head office. Essentially, we will be using head and shoulder photos with short captions, so don’t get all worried at the thought of being asked for your life story. Your modesty will be respected!

We are also on the look out for photos of people. Colour seems to be the “in” thing these days but we prefer black and white photos, nice and sharp. Nothing fuzzy, please. Postcard size or larger will meet our purposes best. And, don’t forget, people must be clearly identified with names and initials, plus their designation.

Please send your news items to Mr P. Angland, sales department, W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd, PO. Box 594, Wellington. “Weddel’s World” is being published every quarter. Our next issue will be published on June 21. Deadline for all copy is May 31.


W. and R. Fletcher NZ. Ltd., and its associates comprise the following:
W. and R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd.
Westfield Freezing Company Ltd. (Auckland).
Nelsons (N.Z.) Ltd. (Tomoana).
Patea Freezing Company Ltd.
Nelsons (N.Z.) Ltd. (Gisborne).
Auckland Meat Company Ltd.
Wanganui Mild Cure Bacon Company Ltd. (Monarch).
Hastings Tannery.
Mataura Stock Foods.

Photo captions –

Gold watches marking more than 40 years’ service each with the Westfield Freezing Company, were presented recently to these six men; a total of 250 years! From left are Messrs I. T. Andrew, clerk; M. N. Ritchie, freezer foreman; D. I. J. Clarke, cannery foreman; W. J. Gray, freezer foreman; D. O. Clarke, slaughterhouse foreman; and A. H. Foster, boning room foreman.

RIGHT: The Weddel stand at the Anuga Fair held recently in Cologne, West Germany. Weddel are using the same slogan on their header board as at the N.Z. Meat Producers Board’s stand. This, literally translated, means “lamb is the Veal of Sheep.” Trade visitors included Lord Vestey (Union International), P. Copeland and J. Hodkinson (Weddel, London).

David Barrowclough, Waikato, this year’s top farm cadet, receives his cheque for his British tour from his sponsors, W. and R. Fletcher NZ. Ltd., represented by the general manager, Mr Mark Hinchliff (right) and the New Zealand livestock manager, Mr O. W. Knight.
– Photo by courtesy of “Straight Furrow.”

W. & R. FLETCHER (N.Z.) Ltd.
Box 594

Original digital file


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.

Business / Organisation

W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd

Date published


Format of the original



  • I T Andrew
  • P Angland
  • David Barrowclough
  • D I J Clarke
  • D O Clarke
  • P Copeland
  • A H Foster
  • W J Gray
  • Alan Hellaby
  • Mark Hinchliff
  • J Hodkinson
  • O W Knight
  • M N Ritchie
  • D H Steen
  • G T Taylor

Accession number


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.