Weddel’s World 1985 – March

Weddel’s World

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



MARCH 1985

Group makes marketing move

A company has been formed within the W & R Fletcher Group, which is solely concerned with marketing all the Group’s products overseas.

Marketing Manager of W & R Fletcher Marketing (NZ) Ltd, Mr Bruce Bishop, said the company was formed in December last year in recognition of a trend within the meat industry towards direct marketing from New Zealand.

The development also reflects the increasing importance of the marketing role through industry moves towards further processing.

“In light of the increasing emphasis on marketing, it was felt that a re-organisation of the traditional W & R Fletcher was necessary,” Mr Bishop said. “As a result, we now have a much-strengthened marketing arm which will focus strongly on these aspects as a separate area of responsibility from the Group’s manufacturing activities.”

Mr Bishop recently spent three weeks overseas familiarising clients with the new operation. He also took the opportunity to brief buyers on the operational procedures of the recently formed Monarch Meat Marketing Association, of which W & R Fletcher Marketing is a member.

Monarch Meat Marketing Association

Formed late last year, the association will market New Zealand sheepmeat, initially carcases and primal cuts, to the Middle East, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

The member companies are W & R Fletcher Marketing, W Richmond Ltd, Columbia Exports Ltd, Dawn Meat New Zealand Ltd, Aotearoa Meats Ltd, R C Macdonald Ltd, Dalgety Crown Ltd, J W Hartnell Ltd and Mathias Meats NZ Ltd.

Monarch’s combined resources include eight freezing works and nine further processing plants. The total annual kill between the companies is about 8 million sheep (5.5m WRF) and 650,000 cattle (450,000 WRF).

Through its established distribution network, W & R Fletcher is responsible for the Mediterranean and Northern Europe markets, while Dawn Meat will deal with the Middle East. Dawn Meat recently attended the Saudi Food Fair and had followed this with a briefing visit to Gulf markets on behalf of the association.

“The combination of the members’ individual marketing strengths and resources has resulted in a strong, cohesive marketing unit and a common goal – the supply of quality New Zealand sheepmeat which meets the health, importation, local community and religious requirements demanded by individual markets,” said Mr Bishop, who has been appointed group co-ordinator.

It was hoped that this unified, market-led approach would be regarded as a step forward from the continually changing policies of the past, he concluded.

Photo caption – The cover of the recently-produced brochure promoting the Monarch Meat Marketing Association, which gives background information on the association and the member companies. See stories and photos. Pages 1 and 2.

WRF strengthens marketing arm cont.

Casings department takes on new role

Casings is another department within W &. R Fletcher Marketing (NZ) Ltd to recently undertake its own marketing from New Zealand.

Casings Manager, Mr Laurie Edwards said the department now had total responsibility for the product, from production right through to the eventual sale to clients.

Although the London casings office had been disbanded, one person had been retained to act in the normal agency role, he said.

While there would not be any staff additions to deal with the extra workload, Mr Edwards said the department would be taking full advantage of a recently-installed IBM personal computer, which would provide on-the-spot sales statistics and production information.

“One advantage we hope to have over the London office is our distance from the market,” said Mr Edwards. “By direct marketing from New Zealand, we are not subject to the same pressures brought to bear by selectors within Europe.”

The industry was facing strong pressure to reduce world casing prices, mainly due to the present strength of the US dollar causing currency difficulties. Buyer resistance was being experienced, particularly in Europe where the Deutsch-mark was under pressure.

However, on a pre-Christmas visit to Japan, the department had secured a deal for the supply of two-thirds of WRF’s second cut lamb production, which Mr Edwards said in itself greatly exceeded the total sales figures for last year.

“It was the first time our casings had been direct marketed to Japan, and we expect further products to be similarly introduced there In the near future he said.

Photo captions –

Marketing Manager, Mr Bruce Bishop and the President of the Greece Meat Importers’ Association, Mr Stamatis Zymnis, at the Athens Wholesale Meat Market, during Mr Bishop’s recent visit to Europe and the UK on behalf of the Monarch Meat Marketing Association and W& R Fletcher Marketing (NZ) Ltd.

The interior of De Vidts butcher shop in Brussels, which acts as an importer and wholesaler of Monarch carcases.

Lamb enjoys growing reputation says visitor

A recent visitor to W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd from Hamburg, was the General Manager of Weddel and Co Ltd, West Germany, Mr Bernhard Greve.

It was Mr Greve’s first trip to New Zealand and one, he said, he had been looking forward to for a long time. Mr Greve had heard a lot about New Zealand’s spectacular scenery and environment and through his contact with W & R Fletcher over a number of years, felt he had come to know many New Zealanders very well.

The purpose of the trip was to visit WRF offices in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, as well as visiting the Tomoana and Westfield works. Mr Greve has been with the Weddel company for 34 years and has been conducting trade matters between his offices and WRF for over 20 of them. He and his staff of 21 deal with products from all over the world.

He said New Zealand lamb enjoyed a growing reputation with housewives in Germany – with the NZMPB rosette symbol being wellknown[well known] in the marketplace and recognised as representing top-quality product

But New Zealand had to make some changes, he confirmed.

Mr Greve found that a number of New Zealand cuts were not totally acceptable as the size was too large for the average German household.

W & R Fletcher had geared its New Zealand operation to cater for the packaging and labelling requirements of Germany. Now, a carcase was cut to a specified pack, size, labelled and even priced, if necessary, for a specific German supermarket chain before leaving the country.

And, Mr Greve stated, the effort was worthwhile, as research and sales results had already shown the German housewife was prepared to pay a premium for well-presented New Zealand lamb.

Competition for a share of the German lamb market is fierce and New Zealand competes with produce from South America, Australia and an increasing supply of fresh and chilled product from EEC countries.

In addition, of course, lamb competes with other meat products particularly pork, which enjoys consumption levels of 50Kg per head of population This is significantly higher than lamb, which now has a level of only .9Kg per head.

Weddel and Co in West Germany has been helping to promote growth and understanding of product preparation by exhibiting permanently, in conjunction with the NZ Meat Board, at trade fairs where consumers are given the opportunity to sample the cooked product.

In addition, the company runs regular sampling sessions at a number of point-of-sale outlets.

Kaiti breaks records

Gisborne Refrigerating Company Ltd has broken existing plant and possibly, New Zealand kill records in the past two months.

Manager, Mr David Gusscott reported that the Kaiti Works had achieved record output for a conventional three-chain operation working normal days (that is, no overtime), on two bases.

February 5 was a record day for the works, with an output of 10,560 heads of mutton and lamb. Also, a new high was struck for a normal five day’s work, in the week ending January 19, with an output of 51,392 heads of mutton and lamb.

Mr Gusscott said the figures were thought to be record- breakers for the country, as well as the plant, and congratulated both staff and management on the achievement.

Kaiti saves $600,000 through natural gas

Gisborne Refrigerating Company Ltd will achieve a major cost saving through the reticulation of natural gas to the Gisborne region.

The natural gas transmission line was officially opened by the Minister of Energy, the Hon Robert Tizard, last month and on March 5 after a weekend’s conversion work, the Kaiti Work’s wool drier was fired on natural gas.

Since then, the hot water boiler has been converted and conversion of the three steam-generating boilers will be completed by the end of this month.

Manager, Mr David Gusscott said the conversion to natural gas would result in fuel cost savings of $600,000 per annum, and increase the efficiency improvement already gained through boiler instrumentation.

“Because natural gas will assist in maintaining our competitiveness in the world market, it will also have benefits for the entire region in the form of increased job security etc.”

The combined consumption of GRCo, Advanced Meat Ltd and J Watties Canneries Ltd would account for 66 percent of the gas reticulated to the area.

The three companies made substantial financial contributions towards the project, to ensure its viability for the benefit of the whole region.

Without these contributions reticulation of gas to Gisborne would have been commercially unviable, and the region would not have benefitted [benefited] as a result, Mr Gusscott said.

Photo caption – The Minister of Energy, the Hon R. J Tizard, officially opens the main gas valve of Gisborne’s gate station.

Stockfoods launches complementary product

New Zealand Stockfoods Co. recently launched its new product, Tomoana Multi-Mineral Salt Mix, in the South Island.

Produced at the Mataura plant, the product complements the company’s existing salt block range, said General Manager, Mr Munro McLennan.

Tomoana salt mix is a multi-purpose loose mix, with a complete range of essential minerals and vitamins. It is designed to help prevent trace element deficiencies and improve the nutrition of sheep and cattle.

The salt mix will be marketed through stock and station agents, as opposed to direct selling to farmers. At present, it will only be available in the South Island, unless demand warrants a move into the northern market.

New Zealand Stockfoods also reports a dramatic increase in the demand for Denkavit Milk Replacers, even though the calf-rearing season is still some time away.

Mr McLennan said demand was usually high, with the company having pre-sold its total production for months ahead in the North Island. This was probably due to merchants’ experiences of milk replacer shortages in the past, he said.

WRF aids Ethiopia

W & R Fletcher has contributed to aid for drought and famine-stricken Ethiopia by processing 2000 cartons of Salisbury corned mutton at bare cost, in conjunction with McCallum Industries.

The mutton, provided by the New Zealand Meat Producers’ Board, will be directed to Ethiopia through the international aid organisation, World Vision.

Tomoana uses new induction programme

Since December. all new employees and some existing staff at Tomoana have been introduced to the Works using an audiovisual programme.

The slide and synchronised tape arrangement allows management to present a large amount of information on the meat industry and the Works in an interesting and consistent way.

It is intended that all staff eventually see the presentation which covers topics such as the company’s position on the world scene, the importance of meeting MAF and EEC requirements, and Tomoana’s commitment to providing customers with the best possible service and producing a top quality product. Also, the importance of keeping up with new technology.

The programme also informs employees about the size of Tomoana, for example, buildings cover an area of 200,000 square. metres and the total land area is 30 hectares. As well, its replacement value, estimated at around $200 million. General rules concerning hygiene, safety procedures, operations, staff benefits and company policy are also explained.

Response so far has been good, both internally and from outside bodies such as the Mutton Board, which gave enthusiastic praise.

Tomoana’s Training Officer, Mr Ken Hutchison, said the automated presentation is part of the usual induction programme which includes face to face departmental introductions by foremen and an information booklet.

Exposure increased

Filming began this month of the popular television programme “…A Dog Show”, of which New Zealand Stock- foods Co. is once again the major sponsor.

General Manager, Mr Munro McLennan said the company had increased its sponsorship and would be receiving even greater exposure this year.

The company would receive credit lines at the end of each programme and advertising accompanying the 30-second commercial trailers appearing in prime-time television during the week.

Tenor sings last song with Westfield

“I am obviously fiercely proud of Westfield I saw it singing and know it’s got the ability to sing again. ”

Former commercial manager of Westfield works, Bill spoke with conviction on the eve of his February retirement, ending 45 years of service with W & R Fletcher.

He recalled the tremendous change Westfield had undergone since the days when a person could walk into the works and see almost every trade represented.

“We even had a cooper then, because there was a tremendous business in kegs, in which brined meat was shipped to West Africa, the West Indies and all over the world. Tallow was also sent in kegs or drums.

“In those days, we also had a box factory, a smallgoods business, one of the finest canneries in the Southern Hemisphere and a large wholesale trade to butchers,” Bill said.

“Everyone was really busy – Westfield used to sing…and we have the management structure to allow it to sing again.”

Bill worked in AFFCO Southdown’s clerical and costings department from 1935 to 1939, before joining Westfield. In 1941 he joined the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, serving in the Middle East and Italy until 1945.

After recuperating from an injury sustained in Italy, Bill was back working in Westfield’s costing department. He then became head of the test department and, later, head of costing.

A period of selling meat to retail outlets in the Auckland district followed, then in 1972 Bill set up and became head of the quality control department. Two years later he became commercial manager, in charge of Westfield’s retail shops and commercial activities a position which held until his retirement.

And while Bill will be no longer; a familiar face at the Westfield works, his life will be just as busy. He and his wife Josepha are noted for their long-standing involvement with the community particularly with children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Aside from four children of their own, one of whom was adopted seven years ago, the couple has fostered “six or seven” other children over the years.

In a Westfield shop chiller during Commercial Manager, Mr Bill Forsman’s last week with the company are (left to right): Westfield Shop Manager, Mr Dan Stewart; Auckland Meat Company Manager, Mr George Stewart; Mr Bill Forsman.

End of service

Bill Forsman was not the only staff member to retire recently. The following former employees also left W & R Fletcher after long service with the company:

Keith Stephens, Kaiti, retired in December 1984 after over 40 years’ service with the company. For the last 10 years, Mr Stephens was foreman in charge of the wool department.

Kevin Bryant, accounts clerk, Tomoana, joined the company in 1937 and retired on February 25, 1985.

Ray Kennerley, foreman in charge of abattoir, Tomoana, joined the company in 1952 and retired on March 5.

Eric Reay, clerk, Tomoana, joined the company in 1954 and retired on January 23, 1985.

Bill Le Grys, preventative engineer, Tomoana, joined the company in 1977 and retired on December 31, 1984.

Jack Longville, shop manager, Auckland Meat Company, joined the company in 1944 and retired on December 13, 1984.

Bill Bowman, sales representative with New Zealand Stock- foods Co, joined the company in 1970 and retired on December 1, 1984.

Gold Star awarded

One hundred and fifty people recently attended the celebration of Tomoana Industrial Fire Brigade Deputy Chief Officer Reg Unwin’s 25 years’ service.

Mr Unwin received a Gold Star, made a Life Honorary Member of the brigade and was presented with a lapel badge and tie from the Wellington Provincial Gold Star Association. Mr Unwin’s wife, Diane, received the association’s Gold Star brooch.

General Manager of Tomoana Works, Mr Michael Sanders, made a presentation to Mr Unwin in recognition of his services to the company, followed by the presentation of a pair of silver goblets by ex-Chief Fire Officer Neil Wood on behalf of the brigade.

Mr Sanders also presented other service awards to the following firemen: L Davidson, 15-year Silver Bar; B O’Shaughnessy, 21-year Silver Bar; S Taylor, 31-year Gold Bar; D WiIlis, 37-year Gold Bar.

Photo caption – The official party at Mr Unwin’s 25-year service celebration was (left to right); ex-Chief Fire Officer Lew [Lou] Jillings, Chief Fire Officer Syd Taylor, Diane Unwin, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Reg Unwin, Past-President Ernie Beale, General Manager Michael Sanders, ex-Chief Fire Officer Neil Wood.

Tomoana’s top team

The quadrangular tournament for the W & R Fletcher Cricket Shield was held in Rotorua recently, with the Tomoana team taking home the shield.

Play was abandoned on the Saturday due to rain, so a darts and indoor bowls tournament was held to determine who would play last year’s winners, Westfield, in the Sunday final.

Tomoana carried on its winning streak from the previous day to “soundly beat” Westfield, with the latter’s performance being attributed to the lack of opportunity for an earlier practice.

Meanwhile the Head Office team turned in a consistent performance in its match against Kaiti to retain the Wooden Spoon award.

And while the results of the P & O vs W & R Fletcher golf tournament at Martinborough, or the Head Office Marrieds vs Singles cricket tournament held in late March were not known by publication date, it is understood both were to be keenly contested.


Mr Dennis Frederickson rejoins WRF after five years in the Weddel London office as Casings Manager. He has joined the Export Sales Department, initially responsible for administrative functions of the Monarch Meat Marketing Association.

Original digital file


Business / Organisation

W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd

Date published

March 1985

Format of the original



  • Ernie Beale
  • Bruce Bishop
  • Bill Bowman
  • Kevin Bryant
  • L Davidson
  • Laurie Edwards
  • Bill Forsman
  • Josepha Forsman
  • Dennis Frederickson
  • Bernhard Greve
  • David Gusscott
  • Ken Hutchinson
  • Lou Jillings
  • Ray Kennerley
  • Bill Le Grys
  • Jack Longville
  • Munro McLennan
  • B O'Shaughnessy
  • Eric Reay
  • Michael Sanders
  • Keith Stephens
  • Dan Stewart
  • George Stewart
  • Syd Taylor
  • Honourable Robert J Tizard
  • Diane Unwin
  • Reg Unwin
  • D Willis
  • Neil Wood
  • Stamatis Zymnis

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