Weddel’s World 1976 – April

Weddel’s World


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


Efficient Distribution Of N.Z. Lamb

The manager of Vestey’s Australasian operations, Mr Derek Lloyd, has expressed confidence in British price levels for New Zealand lamb for the remainder of the year.

Mr Lloyd was speaking in Wellington recently on one of his regular tours of New Zealand.

He said in fact sales of New Zealand lamb in Britain could be considerably increased if more lamb could be exported there.

Good Outlets

Mr Lloyd said with the Weddel network of depots giving regular and wide distribution throughout the country the company was well placed to give maximum service to the product.

He pointed out that through the Weddel International branches sales of New Zealand lamb this year have been made to many other countries including Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Iran, Holland, Greece and Honolulu.

But he added that Britain will continue to be New Zealand’s largest customer for a long time to come.

U.S. Market

In regard to beef, Mr Lloyd similarly expressed confidence in the United States market, New Zealand’s major outlet, and said that with the introduction of a containerised shipping service to carry chilled beef to Japan towards the end of this year a lucrative market will be re-opened to New Zealand.

During his tour of the country Mr Lloyd, accompanied by the general manager of W. &. R. Fletcher (NZ) Ltd, Mr Mark Hinchliff, and the assistant general manager, Mr Peter Johnston, visited all of Fletcher’s plants and had firsthand discussions with the management on future developments, market planning and trends.

He also made personal contact with the staff and many of the company’s farmer clients together with Mr John Kneebone and Mr Hugh Robinson of Federated Farmers.

Mr Lloyd also had talks with the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon. Duncan MacIntyre, and called at the Meat Producers’ Board offices seeing the Chairman, Mr Charles Hilgendorf, and other Board members.

Such liaison, Mr Lloyd said, was of great value to both parties.


W. & R. Fletcher [N.Z.] Ltd’s General Manager, Mr Mark Hinchliff, has described the $13.2 million upgrading programme for the Tomoana, Hastings, works of Nelsons N.Z. Ltd as reflecting the optimism surrounding New Zealand’s meat exports in the long term.

Mr Hinchliff said the programme would enable the Tomoana works, one of the largest lamb killing operations in New Zealand employing upwards of 1600 people at peak on six chains, to process nearly 100,000 lamb carcases per week.

The first stage of the programme comprises construction of a new continuous blast freezer with a capacity to handle 22,000 lamb carcases daily, and a new cold store palletised for mechanical handling.

Mr Hinchliff said the improvements programme was the result of extensive research into the economics, not only as they affected the processing industry but also farmers. Other alternatives, including the possibility of shift work, had been investigated before agreeing on the present programme which involves extensions to the killing areas and enlarged processing departments.

The upgrading programme, which is due for completion prior to the 1979 killing season, includes modernising to meet all known M.A.F. and international hygiene requirements, including several which although not law at the present time are expected to be introduced in the near future.

About half of the construction will involve new buildings including extensions to the killing floor and a new area for humane stunning, with generally improved working conditions. There will also be significant replacement and upgrading of amenities for employees and inspection staff.

The whole programme has been geared so that all improvements can be phased into production to ensure the continuity of employment and output.

Mr Hinchliff said the upgrading of the Hastings works would stabilise the meat producer’s situation in the area without the need for further expensive additional plants.

He pointed out that the projected killing facilities would be more than adequate for Hawkes Bay and any additional construction could ultimately cost the farmer money.

Mr Hinchliff said the $13 million programme at Hastings was the forerunner of similar upgrading work at other company works in New Zealand.

“Because of the present world economic downturn and the depressed meat prices during the last 18 months we have had to delay and rethink our expansion plans for New Zealand to minimise costs of increasingly demanding international hygiene requirements – a question of very obvious interest to the farmers.

“We think we have reached the solution.”

Mr Hinchliff pointed out that his company, part of the Vestey international group, had a long association with the New Zealand meat industry, operating in the country for more than 60 years.

Mr Hinchliff said New Zealand is probably the most efficient producer of lamb and mutton in the world, and our product is highly thought of, which is reflected by the extent of our international markets.

“The current trend for an improvement in international meat prices, with a relaxation in quotas in several of our important markets, will mean a significant improvement in New Zealand’s balance of payments situation as meat exports are the largest single earner, accounting for about 40 per cent of our overseas earnings,” he said.

The Manager of Vestey’s Australasian operations, Mr Derek Lloyd [right], inspecting the site of the new freezer which forms part of the Tomoana upgrading with [from left] the General Manager, Mr M.J. Sanders, the Works Manager, Mr A. Edwards, and the Chief Engineer, Mr S. Bricklebank.

Indonesian Export Future

Weddel International’s South East Asia Trade Promotions Manager, Mr Michael Ball pictured [below] discussing meat trade exports with Stewart Mills of the W. & R. Fletcher [N.Z.] Ltd export sales staff who is responsible for the area.

Mr Ball, who is based in Bangkok, visited the Westfield and Tomoana works in addition to his talks in head office during a brief tour of New Zealand in February.

He described his brief for South East Asia as a wide one incorporating any trading activity either selling or purchasing requested by any member company of the Vestey organisation throughout the world.

On meat sales, his operations are centred mainly on the promising Indonesian market and in Thailand.

“At present our meat sales in the area aren’t really significant, but I can see an optimistic outlook for Indonesia. At present it imports about 500 tons of meat through our associate company, the Malayan Refrigerating Company, in Singapore.

“But I feel that the Indonesians would prefer direct imports from the producer country to reduce their dependence on Singapore. This would involve the construction of adequate cold stores and improved port facilities.

“But I believe the market is potentially there, particularly with the oil and mineral wealth recently uncovered which involves an industry employing thousands of expatriates.”

Mr Ball said that he thought there would be a trend for direct imports within five years and with the steady growth of the economy imported meat would be well within the pockets of the local population.

He likened the Indonesian situation today to Taiwan ten years ago when meat imports have developed from mainly a supply for the tourist industry to what is now a relatively important market for New Zealand.

Mr Ball had worked in Thailand before he joined Weddel International in 1961 in London. He worked in Nigeria and Hong Kong before returning to Bangkok to take up his present position in 1975.

His wide range of activities have included some unusual requests, perhaps the oddest coming from Weddel Barcelona to buy 6,000 square metres of python skins, which he arranged through a local trader.


New Zealand lamb was shown to its best advantage at Weddel’s West German offices’ exhibit at the prestigious ANUGA fair in Cologne.

A large number of products were on display but pride of place was given to New Zealand lamb as a direct marketing effort to back the recent granting of an import licence for lamb to W. & R. Fletcher [N.Z.] Ltd.

The stand [pictured above] had displays of frozen carcases and cuts in two vertical cabinet and a special feature was regular tastings of New Zealand lamb prepared on four rotisserie grills by a chef [shown in the background].

This was an ideal way to allow one of New Zealand’s newer customers to get the full appreciation of the product, and the exhibit was part of a constant marketing effort by the Weddel organisation to penetrate and develop markets for New Zealand meat throughout the world.


After the publication of the January issue of Weddel’s World, the First Secretary (Agriculture and Food) at the British High Commission in Wellington, Mr A.F. Baines, tendered his comments on the article about the new Assistant General Manager of W. & R. Fletcher, Mr Peter Johnston.

The letter reads:
“I was most interested to read Mr Peter Johnston’s comments on the New Zealand meat industry in the January issue of Weddel’s World. There are two points he is reported making with which I would differ.

“First, his remark that high meat prices in the EEC had made it almost too expensive for the normal family. In Britain at least, beef consumption during 1975 was at a high level. Indeed during the first three months of the year more beef was eaten for the period than had ever been previously recorded.

“Secondly, there is no special EEC agreement concerning New Zealand exports of lamb to Britain. The only change has been the imposition of the Common External Tariff. I agree, however, with Mr Johnston about its harmful effect. Britain believes the tariff is too high and the Government’s policy is to seek a reduction.”

Editor’s Note: We would like to point out a comparative reference between beef prices and average earnings in various European countries in regard to it being priced out of the normal family budget.

Average Wage $NZ   Rump Steak NZ$ per kilo    %
U.K.   115.44   5.86   5.07
France   195.78   6.53   3.33
W. Germany   201.23   10.70   5.33
N.Z.   99.16   2.85   2.87


Mr J.M. Davies takes up his appointment as Weddel’s representative in Japan this month replacing Mr J. Wood who has gone to Iran to open a company office in the capital, Teheran [Tehran].

Mr Davies has had a great deal of experience with Weddel London and in 1972 went to Rotterdam. During the past twelve months he has been in Germany at one of the organisation’s meat depots in Munich.

Chilled Beef To Hong Kong

Weddel chilled beef tenderloin cuts, supplied by W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd, arrived at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak international airport from an Air New Zealand flight recently for use in a major promotion of New Zealand meat in the British colony.

Through the Hong Kong Refrigerating Co. Ltd, Fletchers are the only New Zealand exporters to be directly represented in the colony, and as a result were actively engaged in the promotion, organised by the New Zealand Meat Producers’ Board.

The Weddel air freighted chilled beef arrives in Hong Kong in excellent condition and is very well accepted by the major tourist hotels and top class restaurants.


The Wanganui Mild Cure Bacon Company Ltd’s entry into keg beef processing has realised a valuable export potential after only a year.

The initial export programme was concentrated to the Pacific Islands but recently sales have been extended to the British West Indies and there are indications that this new market has continued growth potential in the future.

In the brief period since the start of keg beer processing, the venture now accounts for nearly 25 per cent of the Wanganui Mild Cure’s production, which the company describes as a very impressive growth rate.

Keg beef production in New Zealand fell off about 15 years ago because of increasing costs predominantly in shipping and wooden kegs, but production today falls under a new processing system in which the product is packed in cheaper and more efficient plastic kegs.

After curing, the navel end briskets are cut to consumer requirements, weighed and packed in the plastic kegs and topped off with a cover brine.

Another export outlet is the production of sausages and with the purchase of a new fully automatic sausage machine which can produce up to 600 kilograms of sausages an hour, the company can now cope with export orders without hindering local sales production.

Although greater emphasis is being placed by the company on exports, Wanganui Mild Cure in the main produces bacon, ham and other small-goods for local production.

The company has drawn its supply of live pigs throughout the Taranaki region, but with the current decline in pig production throughout New Zealand it has had to buy in from outlying districts to supplement the local shortfall. This shortfall has also resulted in the importing of pork legs from Canada to meet vast demand at Christmas for whole hams.

For its range of some 20 different lines of smallgoods, basic raw materials are supplied by W. and R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd freezing plants principally from the Patea Freezing Company and Nelsons N.Z. Ltd’s Tomoana works.

W. M. C.’s local distribution covers a very broad area in the south of the North Island stretching from Taumarunui through Waiouru, Palmerston North and Wellington, and is serviced by a fleet of eight vans.

All local products are marketed under the Monarch label, with export packs produced under Palm, Salisbury and Weddel brands.

Another facet of the W. M. C. operation is a retail delicatessen, Mayfair Provisions, situated in the heart of Wanganui’s shopping area. Apart from dealing exclusively in Monarch products Mayfair Provisions also produces a full range of pastry products and savouries and pies, processing more than 15,000 items weekly.

Strong Honolulu Links

When Art Hansen started operations as a meat broker in Honolulu in 1952 he began a strong link with W. & R. Fletcher [NZ.] Ltd, and the relationship is still thriving today with A. H. Hansen Sales Ltd now operating as one of Hawaii’s largest meat distributors.

The links have a close personal touch with Mr Hansen recently making one of his regular visits to Fletchers operations in New Zealand and the vice-president and sales manager, Mr Joe Dacey, visiting Weddel headquarters in London.

Mr Hansen is the oldest established merchandiser of New Zealand meat in Hawaii and in nearly 25 years as a meat importer has always dealt exclusively with W. & R. Fletcher.

His company’s imports from New Zealand have been steadily increasing with figures for the past 12 months well up on the previous year, and at present his overall imports total nearly a quarter of all New Zealand meat distributed in Hawaii.

The bulk of the distribution of Weddel beef and lamb cuts is sold to hotel and restaurant tourist trade with production beef being used by the islands’ hamburger chains.

A measure of Hansen Sales’ success is demonstrated in the company’s recently opened modern plant in Kalihi, Honolulu. Features include three chill rooms and a freezer room covering 13,000 square feet and a dock and dry storage area of 5,000 square feet.

Handling a wide range of foods, including convenience pre-packed and pre-cooked meals, the plant can accommodate six vans at dock side all of which are plugged in for refrigeration.

LIVESTOCK CORNER:   Bringing Home The Bacon

Another facet of W. & R. Fletcher [N.Z.] Ltd’s activities and services is pictured above where Barry Wills is seen appraising and selecting pigs for the Wanganui Mild Cure Bacon Company [see story above]. Barry, who is in charge of the pig buying operations for W. & R. Fletcher [N.Z.] Ltd, is an acknowledged expert in his field. He has an innate appreciation of the market potential of pigs in relation to current values, ensuring the best returns to his clients. Implicit with this is also his ability to advise his client of the feeding programme best suited at a given stage of production to enable maximum yields to be achieved.

OBITUARY: Mr J. A. Holland

It is with deep regret that Weddel’s World records the death, in January, of J. A. (Tony) Holland after a period of illness. Mr Holland was a previous General Manager of the Westfield Freezing Company Limited and his many friends both in and outside the freezing industry will be saddened by his passing.

Tony Holland joined Weddel International in London in 1940 and after initial training in the UK. went to the Weddel’s Angliss organisation in Australia. (His father, Mr Harley Holland, was for many years General Manager of the Angliss Group in Australia.) In 1952 he transferred to New Zealand where he initially took up the position of Assistant Manager at the Patea Freezing Company. Then in 1956 he moved to the Westfield Freezing Company as Assistant to the then General Manager, Mr F. G. Knight, whom he succeeded in 1965.

In December 1972 he transferred back to Australia as Export Manager for the Angliss Organisation, based in Sydney.

Photo captions –

Delivering Monarch smallgoods to a Wellington office cafeteria.

The valuable new export trade of kegged beef being packed, and weighed in the recently introduced plastic kegs.

Weddel meat being loaded into one of the refrigerated Hansen delivery vans for distribution in Honolulu.


Mr Kevin Tomlinson, Chief Engineer at Westfield, recently returned to work from a strenuous holiday as a crew member aboard the Auckland yacht “Tempo” which was one of the three boats representing New Zealand in the Southern Cross series in Australia.

Ken actually helped build “Tempo” in 1974 and has crewed on her ever since.

The build-up for the Southern Cross series started with a series of races off Auckland to determine which yachts would represent New Zealand, the final choice being “Prospect of Ponsonby”, “Quicksilver” and “Tempo”. Ken then got a first hand chance to use the results of a 12-month night school course in practical navigation as the yacht headed for Sydney. He says that he wasn’t particularly worried as all one had to do was sail to the northernmost tip of New Zealand, signal left and Australia would have been hard to miss … But amazingly the crew hit Sydney right on the nose.

Then into a period of hard training to get race fit as Ken says that by this time the crew were grossly overweight due in the main to the beautiful meals which had been pre-cooked and prepacked at Westfield (even down to the mint sauce on the roast lamb!).

The New Zealand team’s spirits were high and the series a hard fought affair with the team surprising everyone by topping the scoreboard and clinching the series ahead of New South Wales, their strongest rivals. Ken says that although “Tempo” was never a front runner and suffered more than her share of bad luck she performed consistently enough to back up the performances of the other two boats to win the title.

Ken’s navigational prowess was demonstrated a second time in a race home to Auckland from Hobart when after sailing for two days through fog “Tempo” passed its target of Cape Reinga right on course.


The manager of the NZ. Stockfoods Company, Westfield, Mr Sidney Barker, is retiring on account of ill health at the end of this month.

Mr Barker joined the organisation in New Zealand in June 1950 after having had extensive experience in feed milling in Britain.

Since then he has played a prominent part in the development of the industry in this country. His successor is Mr David Gusscott.


Mr John Bent of Palmerston North has joined the staff of the Sales Department, replacing Mr Matt Laird of Hawera, who has retired. John recently passed his final for Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

Mr Edward Nicoll also recently joined the Sales Department in Christchurch where he has replaced Mr Euan Laird who resigned in January, to study medicine. Ed has had extensive experience in livestock circles before joining Fletcher’s.

The Westfield Freezing Company has announced a number of staff movements.

Mr Sam Young, Accountant, has been transferred to the Organisation’s Brazil operations, and Mr Wally Rawlings, from Head Office, Wellington, has taken up the position of Acting Chief Accountant.

Mr Kerry Potter, previously Production Manager, has been appointed Assistant Works Manager, By-Products.

Mr Bill Forsman, Commercial Manager, has also assumed responsibility for the Production Department, and Mr Neil Bridgland has been appointed Production Assistant.


Cyril D. Hurcomb, Secretary of the Patea Freezing Company for the past nine years, has recently been appointed a Justice of the Peace.


Weddel’s World congratulations to Eric Weir, Patea Freezing Company’s Stockbuyer in Waverley, who has been elected President of the Wanganui Rugby Union. As such he will be called upon to welcome and host the New Zealand Rugby Union’s Colts team in Wanganui City for their match on 31st July 1976.


Condolences to the wife and family of Ken Gandy, a popular member of Head Office staff who died in February after a period of illness.

Another stalwart of the Company, Les Smith, died in February. Les joined the company as an Architect in 1920 and later became Superintendent Structural Engineer for the W. & R. Fletcher Group in New Zealand.

During his time in the Company he played an important part in the development of its four Freezing Works from comparatively small plants to some of the major Freezing Works in the industry in this country. Les, who is survived by his wife, retired in 1964 at the age of 65 years having served the Group for 44 years.

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Mark Vestey on the birth of their daughter in London last month.

Westfield Winner Was No Surprise

It was no surprise when Precious Gukilau (pictured above with the McCown Cup) won the championship event for men, over 110 metres, at the Westfield Freezing Company’s annual picnic and sports day at Totara Park, Auckland.

After all Precious, who works in the freezers, had represented Fiji in the last Commonwealth Games.

A brilliant day and good programme drew a huge crowd of 1,300 adults and children to the event which had such varied attractions as swimming, athletic events, a rock concert, and a number of novelty events to ensure that all children had a chance to win a prize.

The inter-department tug-of-war was won by the mutton floor, who really couldn’t miss, as their anchor man was Lofty Urlich, the Union President, and the judge was Joe Wolfe, the Union Secretary!

After the sporting events a magnificent hangi, prepared by three of the works’ senior butchers, Billy Walker, Bill Morunga and Tommy Ngaha, was opened. After everyone had received an ample helping one of the lady assistants commented: “The children were excellent … 90% of them said thank you.”


Mr Jack McCredie, the provincial livestock manager at Nelsons [N.Z.] Ltd entered the livestock business with a small agency company in the Waikato in 1935. After six years of overseas service during the Second World War, Mr McCredie transferred to Gisborne in 1948 and joined Nelsons in 1951. He was appointed provincial livestock manager in 1954, succeeding Mr Sam Snushall. During his time in Gisborne, Mr McCredie says that the livestock production in the territory has increased quite substantially, largely through the advent of aerial top dressing, and at the same time the quality of livestock has been improved. Mr McCredie has been involved in many local community interests, being active in the R.S.A., Heritage, a past chairman and currently patron of the Gisborne Boy Scout movement, and was Chief Warden of the Gisborne Civil Defence organisation for eight years. His sporting interests include swimming and diving.

W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd.


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Business / Organisation

W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd

Date published

April 1976

Format of the original



  • A F Baines
  • Michael Ball
  • Sidney Barker
  • John Bent
  • S Bricklebank
  • Neil Bridgland
  • Joe Darcey
  • J M Davies
  • A Edwards
  • Bill Forsman
  • Ken Gandy
  • Precious Gukilau
  • David Gusscott
  • Art Hansen
  • Charles Hilgendorf
  • Mark Hinchliff
  • Harley Holland
  • J (Tony) A Holland
  • Cyril D Hurcomb
  • Peter Johnson
  • John Kneenbone
  • F G Knight
  • Euan Laird
  • Matt Laird
  • Derek Lloyd
  • Honourable Duncan MacIntyre
  • Jack McCredle
  • Stewart Mills
  • Bill Morunga
  • Edward Nicoll
  • Tommy Ngaha
  • Kerry Potter
  • Wally Rawlings
  • Hugh Robinson
  • M J Sanders
  • Les Smith
  • Sam Snushall
  • Kevin Tomlinson
  • Lofty Urlich
  • Mr and Mrs Mark Vestey
  • Billy Walker
  • Eric Weir
  • Barry Wills
  • Joe Wolfe
  • Sam Young

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