Weddel’s World 1984 – March

Weddel’s World

KAITI – in conjunction with Gisborne Sheepfarmers Freezing Co. NZ


MARCH, 1984

NZ operations please Lord Vestey

1   First call for Lord Vestey while touring his New Zealand operations and meeting staff last month, was the Gisborne Refrigerating Company. He was accompanied around the plant by Works Manager, Allan Edwards (right) and Beef- house Foreman, Harry Ngaira (centre).

2   Lady Vestey was greeted in the traditional Maori way by pupils of Napier’s St. Josephs Maori Girls College. Her visit was part of the entertainment programme organised for her two-week stay in New Zealand.

3   While in the Hawkes Bay, Lord Vestey toured the Hastings Tannery and Tomoana Works. He is pictured with Tomoana’s General Manager, Mr Michael Sanders (left), observing some of the boning room production.

4   In Auckland, Lord Vestey visited NZ Stockfoods, the Auckland Meat Company and its retail shops. He is pictured at McCullum Industries’ cannery at Henderson with (from right to left): Managing Director, Hector McCullum; W&R Fletcher’s General Manager, Peter Johnston; McCullum’s General Manager, Don Jolly.

5   While relaxing at the Westfield Works’ staff function after his tour of the plant, Lord Vestey was introduced to some employees by Stock Buyer, Ron McKay (left).

French likely to accept f.p.l.

RETAIL packs of further processed lamb (f.p.l.) are likely to be accepted by French consumers in preference to the more traditional form of primal cuts.

So said Weddel Rotterdam’s Manager of French Sales, Mr Phillip Wakefield, who visited New Zealand for the first time recently on a familiarisation tour.

“In 1985, EEC regulations which currently require individual pieces of meat to be no less than three kilograms will change, lowering the minimum rate to 100 grams.

“We are very optimistic, as this is good news for further processed lamb,” he said.

EEC regulations also allow only three and a half thousands tonnes of New Zealand lamb into France each year. This is not difficult to sell, as Mr Wakefield explained: “Despite the sensitive nature of the French market for lamb, we are still able to ship cuts which are widely accepted by the French public.

“Beef and lamb fancy meats such as tongues, hearts and kidneys are popular with the French housewife, especially those which are now packed into retail bags printed in French. And nearly all lamb brains produced in New Zealand are exported to France. Further processed lamb is quite a new thing,” he added.

Which is why Mr Wakefield was particularly interested in visiting Westfield and Tomoana to view the process in operation.

Mr Wakefield was originally from the United Kingdom, but has worked within the Vestey Group in Spain, Argentina, U.S.A., France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

BELOW: Weddel Rotterdam’s Manager of French Sales, Phillip Wakefield (right), and Tim Parry of W&R Fletcher’s Export Sales Department.

New office

A new company Weddel Hellas, was opened in Athens, Greece, in the New Year.

What was previously a liason [liaison] office has become a full trading office.

Manager, Mr Michael Duck, was previously Weddel’s representative.

Mr Valtazanos of Valtazanos Brothers, who were the Weddel agents in Greece, will continue to act as a consultant to the new company and will retain his interests in it.

Computer system gives accurate information for farmer payment

TOMOANA Works has installed the most sophisticated process computer system of any works in the country.

W&R Fletcher’s Group Manager of production process control at Tomoana, Mr Mike Pownall, said the project began when work started on the new six chain mutton slaughterhouse and freezer complex. The task was to automate data collection on the slaughterfloor and the sorting of carcases following freezing.

To date, the system has produced some 24 thousand mob summaries, seven million carcase tags and sorted some 2 5 million carcases

“It allows us to track every carcase from the first dressing operation right through to palletising after freezing,” Mr Pownall said.

“We accurately identify the mob as it arrives, by stockyard personnel entering the mob number into the computer as stock is presented for slaughter.

“The start of the mob is signalled by a chain butcher pushing a “first carcase” button. Monitoring is carried out by computer room staff who check the mob counts.

“Accurate identification at the start of the mob is the key to accurate farmer payment.

“Once the start is identified, the automatic machinery takes over. Each skid, or hook, is permanently numbered and identifies a carcase.

“At the start of each dressing chain, the ‘mob’ microcomputer remembers the mob number for every skid that has passed in the last one and three quarter hours.

“As each carcase is graded the microcomputer, and another in the grade console, associate the grade information and the mob number by using the skid number as a link. In this way, each carcase is allocated to a mob,” Mr Pownall said.

Accurate weighing is vital: “We use sophisticated microcomputer based electronic scales which have built in checks to ensure accuracy.

“The following day, after freezing, all carcases are automatically sorted. They enter the post-freezer sorting area at the rate of 50 a minute. At the entrance, each skid number is read and this is used to recall the grade allocated the previous day.

“A powerful minicomputer then controls the allocation of each carcase to one of 42 mechanised stacking rails. Each rail holds 40 carcases of the same grade and is emptied automatically, so the longest possible run of carcases of the same grade is obtained.

“Carcases are then fed out and bagged, removed from their skid and placed on a pallet. Selected carcases undergo the shrink wrapping process.

“Tomoana can now readily use any available electronic tool and move forward with great confidence,” Mr Pownall said.

ABOVE: A grader enters his assessment of the carcase’s fat cover into the grading console.


TOMOANA can now provide a unique service for farmers.

Farmer customers can get an extra report for their lamb and mutton mobs showing weight, grade and ear tag numbers for individual carcases.

This low cost service will help farmers select breeding characteristics to produce the heavier lean carcase that markets require.

Only Tomoana can easily produce this report, being the only works in New Zealand where each carcase is automatically identified by a unique number.

AMC retail shops given modern image

CUSTOMERS of the Auckland Meat Company’s Queen Street and Newmarket retail shops had a pleasant surprise when they called in the New Year.

Both have been completely refitted and modernised. A third, in Grey Lynn, was expected to be completed as “Weddel’s World” went to press.

In addition, 12 more shops will be gradually upgraded and improved.

AMC General Manager, Mr George Stewart, said that during the planning stages, it was also decided to close and sell a number of shops which, because of their age and situation, were not worth upgrading.

“The Company is approaching its 80th year of operations. Quite a lot of the shops were old-fashioned and changing population trends meant many of them were in the wrong trading areas. We decided to consolidate the number of shops back to those in good trading areas.

“We had a lot of help from the Property and Engineering Departments in Wellington, with plans for refitting, and are pleased with the successful joint effort.

“Once our remaining shops have been redecorated, we plan to open additional shops in new trading areas.

“If shops are not attractive, especially if they sell food, then they are not going to draw business. With our revamped image, we’ll do just that!” Mr Stewart added.

PICTURED above is the attractive and spacious interior of the Queen Street retail shop.

Farmers lose money on daggy sheep

FARMERS must monitor sheep and lambs more carefully, before forwarding them to the works for slaughter, if stock is to measure up to strict export requirements laid down by the M.A.F.

In many instances, clients have to be called in to clean daggy sheep before slaughter can begin. Otherwise, sub-standard stock is downgraded, dramatically reducing returns to the farmer concerned.

It must be recognised that requirements, both here and overseas, are increasing and stock which would once have been acceptable will now be rejected.

The accompanying pictures are excellent examples of M.A.F. requirements for export slaughter.

TOP: This is the job we’re looking for.

RIGHT: Tail area correct, but leg dags will halt slaughter until cleaned.

BELOW: Totally unsuitable.

WRF gives farm cadet “tremendous opportunity”

A 19-YEAR-OLD manager of a 170 dairy cow farm at Putaruru, Philip Butler, has been presented with the 1984 Farm Cadet Travel and Study Award sponsored by W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd.

A Federated Farmers Cadet, Philip left last month for six months visiting farms and agricultural centres in the United Kingdom. He also recently won the YFC Matamata Under-21 Young Farmer of the Year Award for 1983.

The study scholarship is an annual commitment of $1,000 by W&R Fletcher to the farming community it serves, and is awarded to “an outstanding cadet” within the Federated Farmers National Farm Cadet Scheme.

Said a delighted Philip: “It is a tremendous opportunity to learn more about agriculture in the U.K. and Europe. Winning the scholarship has taken a while to sink in, but I am really pleased. It is worth $10,000 really, counting travel and accommodation provided by Young Farmers’ host families in the U.K.”

Last year’s successful cadet, Greg Glover of Hamilton, recently accepted an offer to stay on in the U.K. for a short time, taking the opportunity to manage a farm while its owner takes a holiday.

W&R Fletcher’s Group Livestock Manager, Mr Gordon Ansford (right), congratulates Philip Butler and presents his cheque.

Float recaptures the past

WHEN Hastings City celebrated its centennial last month with a parade of floast [floats] through the city centre, staff of the Tomoana Works rallied to represent the plant’s part in the city’s history.

Office staff members, David Anderson and Robert Pyne, designed a large, attractive float with loads of nostalgia. They were helped in its construction by other staff members.

The two displays were mounted on an articulated truck. In the lead was Assistant Works Manager, By-products, Alan Tolley, dressed in farmer’s garb, who kept a close eye on a lifelike model of a Hereford bull.

Following them, was a vintage “Tomoana Meats” truck “driven” by Safety Officer, Bill Maretta, in the guise of a travelling butcher. “Strolling” beside the truck in Victorian dress was Fiona Hearn of the typing department, (pictured).

Members of the public were also given pleasure on Tomoana’s steam locomotive, “Bagnall”.

Usually idle in retirement at the plant, where it is maintained by a group of enthusiasts on the staff, the locomotive was brought out for the celebrations.

GRCO’s Christmas party also evening of farewells

GISBORNE Refrigerating Company staff bid farewell to General Manager, Mr Jack Baker and scales clerk, Mr Don Robinson, at Christmas.

Mr Baker told “Weddel’s World” last issue that he hoped to spend more time on the golf course in his retirement and received from staff, very appropriately, a handsome golf bag.

Assistant General Manager of the W&R Fletcher Group, Mr Brian Browne, made the presentation on behalf of all GRCo staff, who also gave Mrs Baker a bouquet of flowers.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation by Mr Baker of a gold watch to Don Robinson. Don’s retirement ended 42 years with the company, including a period of war service.

He worked for 16 years on the slaughterboard scales, 17 years as the livestock booking clerk and for nine as beef house scales clerk.

Originally in the Army, Don was later selected for pilot training just before World War II ended. He had no overseas service.

He and his wife are looking forward to a relaxed retirement, enjoying their bowls and the camaraderie associated with the sport.

Respected colleague dies

IT IS with sadness that “Weddel’s World” reports the death of the Hong Kong Refrigerating Company’s Assistant General Manager, Mr H.C. Ho.

Well known throughout the Group as “H.C.”, Mr Ho died in hospital after a short illness. W & R Fletcher extends deepest sympathy to his wife and family.


WITH regret, “Weddel’s World” reports the death of Mr Brian Bayliss, a grader who had been with the Tomoana Works since late 1971. He is survived by his wife and children.

Accountant wins annual butchers’ tournament

AUCKLAND Meat Company Accountant, Peter Froude, showed no sign of the butcher’s “slice” when he won the Dunningham Cup in the Meat Industries and Related Trade Golf Tournament recently.

He gained the best nett score to win the Cup, which is one of the two major prizes in the tournament held in early February at the Grange Golf Club in Papatoetoe.

The tournament is an annual one for golf club members who work in the Auckland meat industry and Peter has played almost every year since its inception in the late 1960s. He will hold the Cup for a year before receiving a miniature as a permanent reminder of his win. His only other win was in the first year he competed.

G. M.’s success

AMC General Manager, George Stewart, has followed his example. Competing for the first time this year, he took a smaller award for a hole in two. Having just taken the game up, Mr Stewart was practising with his prize of two golf balls soon after the tournament, when he lost them both!

Golfers from an AMC retail shop and Westfield Works also competed this year.

ABOVE. AMC Accountant, Peter Froude, with the Dunningham Cup which he will hold for a year.

How’s this for advertising?

IT’S NOT an amazing coincidence – just innovative brand exposure.

West Coast Manager of Tupman Thurlow and Co. Inc., Mr Ken Bogel, couldn’t resist the opportunity to show off when W& R Fletcher’s Export Manager, Mr Bruce Bishop, visited him in San Francisco recently.

For those not familiar with Californian registration, vehicle owners can choose their own numberplate identification.

Original digital file


Business / Organisation

W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd

Date published

March 1984

Format of the original



  • David Anderson
  • Gordon Ansford
  • Jack Baker
  • Brian Bayliss
  • Bruce Bishop
  • Ken Bogel
  • Mr and Mrs Brian Browne
  • Philip Butler
  • Michael Duck
  • Allan Edwards
  • Peter Froude
  • Greg Glover
  • Fiona Hearn
  • H C Ho
  • Peter Johnston
  • Don Jolly
  • Bill Maretta
  • Hector McCullum
  • Ron McKay
  • Harry Ngaira
  • Tim Parry
  • Mike Pownall
  • Robert Pyne
  • Mr and Mrs Don Robinson
  • Michael Sanders
  • George Stewart
  • Alan Tolley
  • Lord and Lady Vestey
  • Phillip Wakefield

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