Weddel’s World 1975 – October

Weddel’s World

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




The manager of Weddel International’s operations in Japan, Mr Michael de Lacey, has expressed optimism for New Zealand’s immediate meat exports to Japan, but he also made some reservations about the methods of presenting meat products.

Mr de Lacey, who was in New Zealand on a brief visit for talks with W & R Fletcher management, said that the economic situation in Japan seemed to be picking up.

Mr de Lacey said that of initial importance to New Zealand growers was the fact that the availability of horse meat from South America had fallen off considerably because of the political situation in the area. The Japanese, who use horse meat for many processed products, are extremely concerned about this situation and Mr de Lacey said he felt that in the long term they would turn to mutton as an alternative, with New Zealand and Australia being the major suppliers. But he said that the New Zealand growers were losing out to Australian producers in mutton sales because of a different marketing technique.

The Australian exporters were shipping processed boned mutton to the Japanese and this filled their requirements while New Zealand was still supplying carcase mutton. He said that part of the aim of his visit to New Zealand was to discuss the prospects of increasing the exports of boneless mutton to Japan.

“After all, apart from meeting market requirements and obviously getting a better chance in the selling stakes”, Mr de Lacey said, “it seems a bit futile to ship bones half way around the world particularly when freight costs as much as it does”.

As an example Mr de Lacey said that a container which would take about seven tonnes of carcase meat with bone-in could probably take about sixteen tonnes of boneless meat.

The need for boneless mutton imports, Mr de Lacey said, was due to the difficulty experienced in Japan in handling the bone-in product. He said that while he realised labour costs in New Zealand were not cheap, he felt that the boneless product could be produced less expensively in New Zealand than in Japan after accounting for labour and handling costs.

Another problem facing New Zealand exporters was that delivery was hampered by a slow turnaround at N.Z. ports, which could be eased by a more frequent shipping service.

The Japanese importers of meat had to meet deadline dates for imports and in the event of late delivery would have to pay penalty charges. Mr de Lacey said he understood that a new Japanese container ship would be on the run to New Zealand in the immediate future with the likelihood of a second one being put on the run about a year later.

Mr de Lacey also pointed out that the prospects for beef sales to Japan had significantly increased with the Japanese raising their import quota to seventy thousand tonnes for the coming season. He pointed out that because of the economic situation this quota had been cut down to a negligible amount in the previous year and in addition, with the price of grain going up, many Japanese farmers had been forced to kill young calves.

This will result in a short-fall in supply from the large Japanese domestic beef industry for the middle of next year. (Continued Page 2)

To William Nelson Esq.

Dear Sir,    Sept 22nd 1993

We, the undersigned past and present Employees of Messrs. Nelson Bros Ltd. feel that we cannot allow the current year to pass without an expression of the universal esteem which you have commanded in us all.

To-day marks the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Tomoana Works, during the whole of which period you have been our respected Head and you have always in your thoughtful consideration for one and all, endeavoured to promote that good feeling between Employer & Employee which ensures the harmonious conduct of a business and tends to its prosperity has in the present case, we are glad to know, had that desirable result.

We have experienced your hospitality, your sympathy, and your help, on many occasions, the memories of which, will always recall bright spots in the years of our connection with you and pleasant recollections of that period of our service, and desiring to thank you as best we can for the keen interest you have always shown in our well-being, we would ask your acceptance of the small mark of our affection and esteem which accompanies this.

In conclusion, we wish yourself, Mrs Nelson, and your family, health, happiness and prosperity in that sphere of life you or they are destined to occupy.and remain, Dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully.

The scroll presented by the entire work force at Tomoana to William Nelson on September 22, 1905, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the company and the respect in which they held the founder. The scroll was hand painted by the works painter, Charles O. Clarke, himself one of the works’ identities of the time, and contained the name of everyone on the staff. Many of the names on the scroll still have a familiar ring as several generations of the families have been associated with the works. The scroll typifies the harmonious industrial relations in the freezing works, now Nelson’s N.Z. Ltd, during that period. Steady progress is being achieved for a stabilisation of industrial relations in the freezing industry with committees comprising representatives of the Freezing Companies’ Association and unions meeting to determine among other things a restructuring of the industry.


Mr de Lacey said he saw no reason why New Zealand should not get an increased share of the market because the quality of New Zealand beef was highly regarded in Japan.

On another optimistic note, Mr de Lacey pointed out that there had been a recent growth in demand for lamb in the Tokyo and Osaka areas.

But he said that exporters should take note of the Japanese tastes in meat and not send exotic cuts which were not yet accepted by the Japanese.


Another overseas visitor was the new general manager of W. Weddel & Co., Canada, Mr D. J. Jackson, who was making a familiarisation tour of New Zealand operations during which he visited the Westfield and Tomoana works.

Mr Jackson joined the Vestey organisation as a management trainee in London in 1956. He was then posted to Singapore and Hong Kong, where he worked with Mr de Lacey, before returning to London.

Mr. Jackson was then transferred to New York, where he was marketing manager for Tupman Thurlow, one of the group’s associate companies.

Fellowship Awarded To Woman Vet

The W & R. Fletcher (NZ) Ltd. Post Graduate Fellowship in Veterinary Science has been awarded appropriately in this International Women’s Year to Mrs Jan M. Jones, B.V.Sc. at Massey University.

The Fellowship provides an annual grant of $3000 for post graduate training or research directed to improving the health or production of farm animals or to processing human foods derived from animals.

Mrs Jones has enrolled for a Master of Veterinary Science degree and her study will be on genetic defects in cattle with particular emphasis on dwarfism. Dwarfism is a familiar problem overseas and now with the intensification in cattle breeding in New Zealand, there is an increasing incidence in our own commercial herds. Mannosodosis will be another aspect of her work.

Mrs Jones who is 30 years of age, and married to a veterinarian, has had extensive experience in the field since graduating B.V.Sc. in 1967. She has worked in a District Veterinary Club in the South Island and a private practice in Australia.


Dr Keith McSporran, (right) the previous recipient of the W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd. Fellowship, removing a lamb from a ewe by a caesarian technique. This method provides a source of lambs, required for various animal research projects, which have not been exposed to any disease which could have been transmitted by the ewe.

Dr McSporran was recently appointed Research Officer with the Wallaceville Animal Research Centre having completed his Doctorate at the Massey Veterinary School.

Dr McSporran’s current field of research work is the investigation of pleuresy [pleurisy] in sheep. There is a significant economic loss to this country each year through the down-grading of carcases because of pleuresy [pleurisy].

As a matter of interest the W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd., Veterinary Fellowship previous to that of Dr McSporran’s was awarded to Dr D. E. Gardner, who is now the Superintendent of the Animal Health Laboratory at Palmerston North. The original Fellowship in 1968 went to Mr P. S. Grant who graduated M.V.Sc. with 1st Class Honours.


The Export Sales Manager of W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd, Mr Bruce Bishop, says that the introduction of corned brisket, packed in specially produced plastic kegs, has been very well received in the Pacific Islands area.

The kegs, each of which contain 40 lbs of meat, have been selling well and Mr Bishop says it is now planned to try and break into the markets in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. The corned brisket, which is being marketed under the “Weddel” brand, is being produced by an associate company, the Wanganui Mild Cure Bacon Company.

W & R Fletcher also has arranged the sale of 2,800 tons of boneless beef to a large processor in Puerto Rico. The consignment will be delivered in three lots to the Puerto Rican Port of Mayaguez.

The Company has also achieved a valuable inroad to the Fijian market with the consignment of chilled boneless beef by air to Nandi. The initial order was for one ton of meat on an experimental basis with further review each month. The Director of Fresha Meats Limited, Mr Neil Ives points out that W & R Fletcher’s already operate on a large scale basis in the surrounding areas. He said prices would be competitive with local beef and each carton of meat will be vaccuum [vacuum] packed. The Company says that 8,000 lbs of beef are already being flown into Fiji every week and counter sales are still growing.

Mr Bishop points out that there has already been great acceptance of boneless beef in Hawaii and Tahiti especially by the hotel and catering trade.

Room For More Lamb on UK Market

The general manager of W. and R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd., Mr Mark Hinchliff, says the outlook for sales of New Zealand lamb to Britain looks promising for the coming season.

Mr Hinchliff was commenting after his recent visit to London, during which he also visited his organisation’s offices in the United States. Bangkok and Singapore.

“Overall lamb sales on the British market this year have been very good, and our stocks were more than manageable,” Mr Hinchliff said.

“Even though there have been significant increases in freight and other costs between the farm gate and consumer prices have held well.

“In fact a demand for even more lamb could be generated and I feel that New Zealand could increase its lamb exports to the U.K. without any adverse effect on prices.”

The timing of the trip was fortuitous as while in Britain Mr Hinchliff was able to enjoy one of the best summers that London has had for many years.

Photo caption – Mr de Lacey discussing details of W & R Fletcher’s export operations with the Export Sales Manager, Mr Bruce Bishop, and his assistant, Mr. Dennis Frederickson.

Stock Food Pioneers Still Lead The Field

W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd. is unique in New Zealand in that it is the only Freezing Works Operator in the country involved, in the real sense of the word, in the Stockfeed Industry.

It all started modestly enough when in 1919 a subsidiary company was formed (at their Westfield Works in Auckland) to process whole linseed, both imported from South America and grown in the South Island. Known as the N.Z. Cattlecake and Oil Company it produced the sought after linseed oil for the building trade and also Linseed Oil cake. This latter product, marketed under the “Moose” brand as a stockfeed for cattle and sheep found a ready acceptance among discerning stud and commercial animal husbandrymen of those times and this has carried through to this day.

The first dry-rendered Meat Meal in New Zealand was produced at the Tomoana Works. From this origin came the Tomoana brand for stockfoods which is so well known today.

Another associate company, The Westfield Freezing Company, was the first scientific compounder of balanced, mineralised and vitamised stockfeed rations in the field in New Zealand. In the early 1940’s Westfield produced for W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd., not only the original “Tomoana” Dairy Ration, a product which is still the leader in its field today but also the first commercial stockfood pellets in the country.

From these beginnings has mushroomed a nationwide business, manufacturing and merchandising not only oilcake and compounded stockfoods under the “Moose” and “Tomoana” brands to cater for the ever increasing production potential in the country’s herds and flocks and the large poultry and pig industries but also manufacturing and merchandising many specialised animal feed products, such as “Molactrate” Blocks, “Tomoana” Magnesite Blocks and others under special franchise including world brands such as “Denkavit”, “E. C. Feed” and “Rumevite”, all of which are of a nature and range which set Fletcher’s apart from their competitors.

This development of the stockfoods business of W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd., is both a tribute and a testimonial to the ingenuity and the skill the foresight and the perseverance of the men who made it possible. Behind the sophisticated edifice of today’s modern business is the spirit of men who have given the greatest part or all of their working lives in pioneering the feeding of specialised feed concentrates to all classes of stock in New Zealand. Men who turned their hand whether it be to a manufacturing problem or an experimental project or an A & P display or to whatever was required of them with a sense of camaraderie and dedication not often matched today.

Imagine a sales representative in these times (the prospect of petrol rationing is not that remote a possibility) being asked by his Sales Manager to buy a pushbike and go from point to point by train, hopping off at one town to do his calls and then catching another train to the next town and so on. That was the lot of W & R Fletcher representative K.W. Truscott during the war. He graduated to a V8 coupe which had a gas producer fitted to it. First time out he set fire to the car. Then he got the hang of it and from then on travelled vast distances successfully, except that he inevitably looked like the “Stoker’s mate” and found buyers rather “chary” about extending the warm hand of friendship.

In recent years the old stockfood plant at the Westfield Freezing Company was destroyed by fire and a new factory operated by an associate, The New Zealand Stockfoods Company, has replaced it. It is one of the most up-to-date in the country. The processes of this compound feed mill such as the intake of ingredients, intermediate processing, mixing, molassing, pelleting and crumbling and despatch of finished products now take place with a minimum of time and maximum of efficiency not dreamt of at the time when the first bag of “Tomoana” was produced.

Automation and electronic control of the operations, control of complete and intimate mixing checked and confirmed by periodic radioactive isotope detection, large capacity and flexibility of the plant, back up service and quality control of ingredients and finished products provided by the laboratory’s chemists are just part and parcel of this modern day stockfoods plant, the largest in the W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd., group.

Other factories at Patea and Mataura manufacture, besides compounded foods, specialised products and include recombining plant to manufacture “Denkavit”, the world’s most famous calf milk replacer.

There can be no doubt, if there ever was, that increased agricultural production is going to be the only way that New Zealand will keep pace with the ever intensifying pressures on her economic structure and as a consequence the living standard of all. Given the right incentives, the New Zealand farmer will move toward higher stock concentrations to produce more for our overseas markets. Efficient stock-feed compounding factories like those of the W & R Fletcher Group by reason of the economies introduced, will play an ever increasing part in enabling the New Zealand farmer to get from each acre of his land, that extra production on which henceforth the whole country will rely.

Canadian Hams For Christmas

W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd has undertaken a semi “Santa Claus” role to help meet the traditional New Zealand taste for ham at the Christmas season. The Company has imported five containers of about 10,000 hams in all from Canada to alleviate the shortage of ham in New Zealand caused by a fall off in domestic pig production.

The operation is being carried out to service the community and the hams will be sold at the same price as the New Zealand products.

The hams which are in a weight range of 12 to 18 lbs, will be cured and smoked by the Wanganui Mild Cure Bacon Co. Weddel’s General Manager for Canada, Mr Jackson who recently visited W & R Fletchers’ Head Office in Wellington says that the future supply of Canadian hams to New Zealand is in some doubt as pig production costs have risen significantly and the importing price to New Zealand may no longer be economical. The Canadian industry is undergoing the same difficulties as New Zealand pig farming with increased feeding costs driving many producers out of the field.

Photo captions –

“The Stoker’s Mate”.

Denkavit production at the Mataura Plant

An operator at the electric control panel at the N.Z. Stockfood plant at Westfield.

Farewell Presentation

The Outgoing General Manager of the Westfield Freezing Company, Mr R.H. Jeffery (right) with three coloured photo scenes of New Zealand presented to him at his farewell reception at Otahuhu before his transfer to Australia as the Manager for the Angliss Group Operations in Victoria. With him are the new General Manager of Westfield, Mr Gordon Taylor (centre) and Mr Lloyd Souness who made the presentation. More than 100 members of the Westfield staff attended the reception to wish Mr and Mrs Jeffery success in their transfer. The reception also gave their staff members a chance to meet their new General Manager, Mr Taylor, who was previously General Manager of Nelsons (NZ) Limited Hastings.

40 Year Service Awards

Mr Dan Hickey and Mr Brian Minton receiving their gold watches from Mr R.L. Stewart, General Manager of the Patea Freezing Company at a recent function held at Patea to mark their continuous service of over 40 years with the company.

Mr Hickey who has been foreman in the Pelt Department since 1943 and Mr Minton who has been foreman fitter from 1946 both commented on the many changes in their industry, especially of recent years.

Both have also given long service to the Patea Freezing Company Fire Brigade. Brian has been a member for 33 years with the latter 8 in the capacity of Chief Fire Officer whilst Dan has served for 21 years.

1975 Young Farmers’ Award

The 1975 Federated Farmers’ Travelling Scholarship to Britain has been won by Mr Andrew Macdonald from Te Whaiti, Rotorua.

During his six months farming study course in Britain Andrew will pay particular attention to a project which deals with exotic breeds of sheep.

Since its inception in 1970 the Federated Farmers Scholarship has been sponsored jointly by W. & R. Fletcher NZ Ltd who present a cheque for $750 to meet all of the winner’s expenses in Britain and P. & O. NZ who provide a free return sea passage.

Andrew, who is 20, attained his School Certificate at Rangitaiki College and then in 1972 joined the Rotorua farm cadet scheme. He first worked on his parent’s sheep and cattle farm for a year, and then moved to a dairy and beef farm at Rerewhakaaitu where he was selected for a shed hygiene award.

His third year in the farm cadet scheme was spent on a beef and lamb fattening farm at Ngongataha, during which he was awarded the Bay of Plenty Savings Bank Bursary which helped pay his fees when he attended Massey University to study for his Diploma in Agriculture.

Also during his three years as a farm cadet Andrew studied a Technical Correspondence Institute course for the Trade Certificate in farming.

His main hobbies are deer stalking and pig hunting.


Joe Pearson has recently transferred from the Sales Department, Head Office, Wellington to Manager of the Petone Branch of the Wanganui Mild Cure Bacon Company.

Kerry Potter, previously quality control manager at the Tomoana Works has taken up the position of Production Manager Westfield, effective from September 15th.


Mr Michael Knight has taken up a new posting this month in the London head office of W. Weddel and Co. Ltd.

Mr Knight will assist Mr Derek Lloyd who manages the New Zealand and Australian business in London. He will be involved in works operations and also the distribution an pricing of New Zealand meat throughout the United Kingdom.

After joining the Tomoana works of the W. and R. Fletcher group in New Zealand in 1963, Mr Knight subsequently worked at the Westfield (Auckland) works and Wellington head office.

In 1971 he was posted to Singapore, and in 1974 went to Australia where he spent 13 months at the Angliss plants in Footscray (Melbourne) and Riverstone (Sydney).

Latterly he completed a familiarization tour of Australia and New Zealand, which included an up-date on all aspects of the Weddel organisation’s operation in both countries, as well as ten days in the North American offices en route to London.


K.W. (Ken) Truscott (Cambridge) a senior sales representative for W. & R. Fletcher retired in the middle of September after 34 years’ service with the company.

Ken did valuable work in the early days of the stockfoods business and actually sold the first bag of the now famous “Tomoana” dairy ration.

He is well known in his field throughout New Zealand, particularly in the Waikato, where he was president of the commercial traveller’s club for several terms of office.

This issue also marks the retirement of two other long serving staff members of W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd.

Johnny Cameron, the hides foreman at Patea has retired after more than 40 years’ service with the company.

The rail-out foreman at Westfield, Alan Foster, also retired last month after more than 40 years’ service with the company.


Mr Jack Lord, the Head of Production who has had more than 40 years service with W & R Fletcher. He is responsible for the production side of the group’s business in New Zealand, including the monitoring of the production of sale: of casings and other specialised by-products, and is also engaged in works operation and buying schedules. Mr Lord joined Fletchers in 1934 when the head office was based in Auckland, starting as an office boy. When the Head Office moved to Wellington in 1936 Mr Lord stayed on in Auckland in the Shipping Department. He was moved South to Head Office in 1941 to start the By-Products Department. He returned to Westfield in 1954 for a year in the Test Department, a department which was initiated before, as he puts it the words “quality control” were devised. He returned to Wellington in 1945 where he continued his involvement with By-Products until 1971 when he was transferred to the Cost & Production Department where he says he “takes up a lot of space in the office.” Mr Lord says that he is now getting too old for some of his hobbies but still maintains a very keen interest in his garden and is a well known contract bridge player having appeared in most tournaments held throughout he country. In his youth he was a keen cricketer, footballer and golfer.

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Business / Organisation

W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd

Date published

October 1975

Format of the original



  • Bruce Bishop
  • Johnny Cameron
  • Charles O Clarke
  • Michael de Lacey
  • Dennis Frederickson
  • Doctor D E Garner
  • P S Grant
  • Dan Hickey
  • Mark Hinchliff
  • Neil Ives
  • D J Jackson
  • Mr and Mrs R H Jeffery
  • Mrs Jan M Jones
  • Michael Knight
  • Jack Lord
  • Andrew Mcdonald
  • Doctor Keith McSporran
  • Brian Minton
  • William Nelson
  • Joe Pearson
  • Kerry Potter
  • Lloyd Souness
  • R L Stewart
  • Gordon Taylor
  • K (Ken) W Truscott

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