Weddel’s World 1974 – October

Weddel’s World

KAITI – in conjunction with Gisborne Sheepfarmers Freezing Co. Ltd.




“We are having the toughest period we have had to contend with for a long time,” Mr Derek J. Fechney, the N.Z. Meat Producers’ Board United Kingdom director, stated at a recent London press conference.

Describing present marketing conditions, he said sales for the first half of 1974 were down by 25 per cent. This was a critical situation in view of stocks in cold storage and the continued downward trend in prices.

Weddel’s World has previously reported that their associate company in England, the large Dewhurst retail chain, had co-operated with the Board in a special spring campaign to sell more New Zealand lamb to British consumers.

A special late (northern) summer television advertising campaign was also mounted by the N.Z. Board with the aim of boosting sales and, hopefully, lifting prices. Prices quoted for “Prime 2” lambs (13-16 Kg) at Smithfield were 24 to 25 pence/lb in September. The mid-July price level was 23 pence/lb. Both are significantly lower than the selling price of 32.2 pence at the peak in January.

Weddel Chilled Lamb Flown To Middle East

Displayed in the photograph (left) are sample cartons of miscellaneous new season cryovac-wrapped chilled lamb cuts (YL Type) which were airfreighted from the Westfield Freezing Company plant in Auckland to Qatar in the Persian Gulf early in October.

Under the aegis of the Meat Exporters’ Council which initiated the prospects of opening up a market in chilled lamb in the Middle East during a trade mission to the area recently, the Westfield Works of the W. & R. Fletcher Group was selected, with others, to participate in the task of getting this new and important trade, literally “off the ground”. It is proposed to send the consignments of chilled lamb by air to Quatar [Qatar], with the first lift probably in late October.

It is particularly appropriate that this new development in the Middle East is gathering momentum at a time which has coincided with the historic visit to New Zealand of Their Imperial Majesties the Shahanshah Aryamehr and Shahbanou of Iran.

The mutual expressions and evidence of goodwill between these two countries augur well for the outcome of this venture, and others, in the Middle East market place.

Photo caption – Weddel’s gleaming white jet at Le Bourget airport, Paris, provides a striking background for New Zealand lamb promoters! From left, Mr P.D.A. Copeland, Continental marketing manager, W. Weddel & Co., London; Lord Vestey; Mr W.P.M. Griffiths, director W. Weddel & Co., London; Mr Mark Hinchliff, general manager of W. & R. Fletcher (NZ) Ltd. The photo was taken during a tour of Weddel offices and retail outlets on the Continent.

Mr P.L. Emslie, Waverley, produced the winning pen of lambs out of 22 entries from the annual Waverley A. & P. Association show which were shipped to Smithfield for judging and display earlier in the year.

Messrs R.J. Andrews and D. Chessell, the Judges, said that the winning pen was an extremely good run of lambs. In their comments they also said that the brand marking of all the lambs was good and that the dressing had maintained the usual high standard from Patea Freezing Co.

Of interest to New Zealanders will be the person 7th from left in the group of officials and visitors at Smithfield who admired this display. He is M.H. Oram, T.D., London, a son of the late Sir Matthew Oram (Palmerston North) a former Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives.


The present surplus of beef stocks in the E.E.C. should be seen in relation to consumption figures, says Mr Jack White, the chief economist of the New Zealand Meat Board.

Commenting recently on the present oversupply of beef on world markets, he said a good deal of publicity had been given to the E.E.C. intervention stocks of beef and its effects on trade over the last few months.

He felt that the surplus, which today is in the region of 180,000 tonnes, and could go higher, should be seen in relation to consumption figures.

The present stocks, Mr White said, accounted for only 2.5 per cent of th [the] E.E.C. total annual consumption of six million tonnes. This represented about 1.4 per cent of the United States consumption of 11 million tonnes or 2.8 per cent of Soviet Russia’s consumption of 5,400,000 tonnes.

Consequently the intervention stocks of beef is proportionally less than three-quarters of one per cent of the total consumption of these three markets.

An increase in consumption of half a pound per head over all these countries would eliminate the surplus and an increased demand of another half pound would result in a shortage.

Mr White said this showed how small the margin was between a shortage and a surplus. It also emphasised there was little doubt that, if market forces were permitted to operate, the surplus would soon disappear and could be replaced by a deficit.

The Spur Of Competition

On his return from a recent visit overseas, including Canada and the United States, Mr M. Hinchliff, general manager of W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd., commented on the Meat Export Development Company’s operations.

It had done a good job in promoting lamb in North America, but he now felt that if an element of competition was allowed, and introduced, it would further this promotion and the resultant wider distribution achieved would mean a corresponding increase in volume of sales.

This contention was supported in the report of the Commission of Enquiry into the N.Z. meat industry released earlier in the year. The report indicated that the complementing of the Devco operation in North America with private importers’ operations would be a desirable development in that area.

Inflation Upsets Beef Supply And Demand

Inflation had caused a fall in beef consumption in Europe and upset the supply and demand position, Sir Christopher Soames, the vice president of the European Economic Community, stated in Wellington on his arrival for talks with the New Zealand Government.

He said the Community regretted very much its clampdown on beef imports but the hard fact was that its cold stores were full to over-flowing.

Although he believed the situation was temporary, Sir Christopher said, he had learned not to put a time limit on economic situations of this kind.

“We are going to have troubles for some months,” he added, “but in a year or two it is not unlikely that there will be a shortage of beef.

“The surplus of beef in Europe did not come from an abnormal rise in production. There was a fall in consumption because of inflation and this has upset the supply and demand position.

“One of the troubles with beef is that there are not the storage facilities in the community to store large proportions of the beef produced as in the case with grain and dairy products.”

Sir Christopher said he was not competent to judge whether Europe was heading for a major depression but it was in for a difficult time.

New Work Coming Up For Tender

Drawing specifications associated with the redevelopment plans for Tomoana, Patea, and Kaiti works are now well advanced. One is just about ready to go for tender.

W. & R. Fletcher head office engineering department, seen at right, is responsible for the preparation of all drawings and specifications for a new six-mutton chain arrangement with associated departments, at the company’s Tomoana works, and a three-chain arrangement, plus ancillary departments, at both the Patea and Kaiti works.

Since these will all be new structures and completely divorced from any existing buildings and plant, there will be no hindrance to the on-going killing programme at the respective works.


Lance Hennessy, from head office wool and pelt department has been transferred to Sydney as Australian wool & skin manager. Lance joined the Weddel organisation in 1947 and has spent the greatest part of his service in the wool, skin and fellmongery business in Australia.

His replacement is Andrew Watt, who comes from London wool department. Andrew joined Weddels in 1959 and has previously worked for the company in New Zealand.

Colin Bartle, secretary at Tomoana, has retired after 48 years’ service. He carries with him into leisuredom the good wishes of the company and fellow staff.

Allan Thompson (previously accountant at Tomoana) has succeeded Colin Bartle as secretary to Nelsons (NZ) Limited, Hastings, and Murray Birkett has been appointed accountant.

Others who have retired after sterling service are: Morrie Ritchie, freezer foreman at Westfield (after 46 years’ service), Bill York, senior scales clerk at Westfield (23 years’ service), Gordon Lynch, casings foreman at Kaiti (43 years service).

Trevor Arnold has transferred from head office staff to production Manager at Tomoana as from 18th July, 1974.

Peter McDonald, who came to Wellington head office from wool & pelt department, Australia, has been transferred, after just under 2 years, to the United Kingdom, based in London. The Wellington inter-firm tennis competition will be a tame affair this season without Peter and his “Australianisms”!


Mr A.W. Chapman, wool manager for W. & R. Fletcher, recently returned from a visit to the U.K. and U.S.A., is cautiously optimistic about demand and prices for the coming season.

“In the short term, interest rates and inflation pressure will determine the trend, with tough trading conditions continuing until the New Year. The woollen hosiery yarn spinners are at present hard-pressed, but the first half of 1975 should see a strengthening in demand and the softer wools may benefit in price accordingly. Fortunately, New Zealand is not a large producer of really fine wools. This sector is very depressed and basically keyed to Japanese demand, hence we cannot expect a recovery until that country has overcome its present ‘indigestion’ of high-priced raw materials. However, carpet yarn spinners in the U.K. have healthy order books and the demand for coarse wools should continue.”

Canadian Talks

While overseas recently, Mr Mark Hinchliff, general manager of W. & R. Fletcher (NZ) Ltd., attended a meeting of the Canadian Meat Importers’ Council at Toronto.

Left to right: Mr John McAleer, Weddel Ltd., Canada; Mr Hinchliff; Mr Lyall Johnson, general manager, Weddel Ltd., Canada; Mr Ken Malerum, H. Cleveland & Company, Vancouver (Weddel agents); Mr Gordon Lennox (Devco) Toronto.


J.A. (JIM) Moir

The death has occurred of Mr J.A. (Jim) Moir, works manager of the Westfield Freezing Company. Joining W. Weddel & Co. as a salesman in 1936, he transferred to Brazil (Union International) in 1938. He joined the Armed Services in Brazil during World War II and saw active service as an officer with Bomber Command over Eruope [Europe].

In 1947 he went back to Union International where he was transferred to Madagascar as an assistant works manager, later becoming works manager.

In 1954 he was transferred to the W. Angliss & Co. group in Australia as an assistant works manager later becoming works manager. In 1967 he spent 9-10 months back in United Kingdom and was then transferred to the Westfield Freezing Co., New Zealand where he later became works manager.

Mr Moir was a member of the Papatoetoe Rotary Club and was an active member of the Papatoetoe Presbyterian Church where he was on the Board of Managers.


Gold watches marking 40 years’ service were recently presented to Mr Jack Lord, head office, and Mr Albert Holland, Christchurch, at a ceremony in Wellington.

Managers from the company’s works attending a conference in the Capital, joined head office staff at afternoon tea to hear Mr Mark Hinchliff, general manager, pay warm tributes to both men.

“Their years of service to the company have been most valuable ones,” he said. “Theirs has been a wonderful effort. They have done much to help the growth of the company in New Zealand.”

Mr Hinchliff went on to describe Mr Lord as “one of the world’s characters.”

“I don’t think there is anyone in the New Zealand meat industry who hasn’t heard of him!

He is a man with many attributes.”

Both Mr Lord and Mr Holland replied briefly and in humorous vein.

Mr Lord: “Looking back, I find it hard to believe that 40 years have passed since I first joined the company, and those looking at me can’t believe it either (laughter).

Of the original 85 with whom I started at the then Auckland head office, Bill Grey and I are the only ones left. It makes me think we’ve done a damn good job to survive (laughter).

We’ve gone through all the general managers, and Mr Hinchliff is the fifth.”

Mr Holland: “I started with the company in Hawkes Bay, a very beautiful part of New Zealand. In fact, in Hawkes Bay they think it is New Zealand! (laughter).

I can claim 45 years with Vesteys. My career has had its ups and downs but looking back on it all, I would not have wished to have done anything else.

There have been many exciting challenges in my jobs. I have travelled overseas, I have made very many good friendships.”


The emergence of Dr. L.G. Knight as an All Black in 1974 highlights a remarkable achievement for a family having close ties with the Weddel organisation in New Zealand. This association began in 1918 when Frank Knight joined the Westfield Freezing Co., in Auckland and spans more than 56 years. In 1964 there were four Knights all working for the Weddel company at the same time.

From Left: F.G. Knight, general manager, Westfield 1940/65. Cousin of Bubs; A. (Bubs) Knight, Westfield local and wholesale trade for many years. Cousin of F.G.. Played for N.Z. 1926/28/34 and Auckland; L.A.G. Knight, brother of Bubs. Played for N.Z. 1925 and Auckland, Waikato; L.G. Knight, son of L.A.G. and cousin of M.O.. Played for NZ. 1974 and Auckland. Will be touring British Isles with the All Blacks in November, 1974; M.O. Knight, recently transferred from Singapore to Angliss & Co., Melbourne after 8 years in New Zealand. Son of O.W.. Played for NZ. 1968, Hawkes Bay, Counties, Wellington; O.W. Knight, general manager, Tomoana Freezing Works 1964/70. Now N.Z. livestock manager, head office. Played for Auckland, Manawatu, Canterbury. Cousin of Bubs.

Patea Shares Hard-Fought Golf Honours With Head Office Team

The annual match for the Rowlands Challenge Shield between teams from Wellington head office, and the Westfield, Tomoana and Patea freezing works took place recently at the Wairakei international golf course.

There was intense competition to find the winner, and in the end it was a tremendous finishing burst from the Patea contingent which enabled them to come from behind the head office team and share the shield. Each team notched 22.5 wins out of 24 games played.

Westfield finished in third place with 16 wins whilst Tomoana, dragging the chain a little, (no pun intended) registered 11 wins.

Stewart Pauling, the head office shipping manager, registered the best individual performance over the three rounds played and retained the trophy, which he also won in 1973.

In an interview with our sports reporter, he attributed his success to the strict training programme which he undertook after last year’s tournament with the express view in mind of retaining the title again this year.


Mr R.M. Scott (at right) chief accountant/company secretary of W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd. He joined the parent organisation W. Weddel and Co., in London in 1936 and transferred to W. Angliss and Co., Melbourne, shortly after in 1938. In 1951 he was transferred to New Zealand head office.

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

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Business / Organisation

W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd

Date published

October 1994

Format of the original



  • R J Andrews
  • Trevor Arnold
  • Colin Bartle
  • Murray Birkett
  • A W Chapman
  • D Chessell
  • P D A Copeland
  • P L Emslie
  • Derek J Fechney
  • Bill Grey
  • Lance Hennessy
  • Mark Hinchliff
  • Albert Holland
  • Lyall Johnson
  • A (Bubs) Knight
  • Frank G Knight
  • L AG Knight
  • Doctor L G Knight
  • L G Knight
  • M O Knight
  • O W Knight
  • Gordon Lennox
  • Jack Lord
  • Gordon Lynch
  • Ken Malerum
  • John McAleer
  • Peter McDonald
  • J (Jim) A Moir
  • Sir Matthew Oram
  • M H Oram
  • Stewart Pauling
  • Morrie Ritchie
  • R M Scott
  • Allan Thompson
  • Lord Vestey
  • Andrew Watt
  • Jack White
  • Bill York

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