Weddel’s World 1985 – Summer

Weddel’s World

KAITI – in conjunction with Gisborne Sheepfarmers Freezing Co. Ltd



SUMMER, 1985

Fiji office opens

W & Fletcher opened its first Pacific Island Branch office early in December in Fiji.

The office in Suva will import and distribute WRF products throughout Fiji and act as an agency for Tonga, Western Samoa and American Samoa.

The four staff will also advise on marketing strategies for the region and explore export opportunities in other Pacific Island countries such as Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru.

Some other New Zealand exporters will also use the office as an agency.

Stuart Mills, Assistant Marketing Manager, Pacific, was in Suva for the office’s opening, “W & R Fletcher’s association with the Pacific Islands goes back nearly fifty years,” he says. “Previously we had an agent in Fiji looking after our interests, but the time is right for the opening of an office, with our own staff, who can make decisions on the spot.”

Lamb makes up a large percentage of products going to the Islands and it is especially popular with Fiji’s Indian population, who don’t eat beef.

But chilled beef and lamb is a big seller with the hotel industry, catering to the region’s many tourists.

“We expect an increase in trade now,” says Mr Mills. “In fact, we would hope to see our Pacific Island trade grow to the level of $3 million a year.”

Other photo page 3

Photo caption – Stuart Mills with the Fiji Manager Chris Bing and his assistant Vijay Kumar outside the new office in Suva.

It would be pleasant to cite an untroubled year past and anticipation of smooth seas ahead.

But in an industry undergoing rapid and often violent change there will be challenges to face in 1986 as in 1985.

However, in the resumption of sheepmeats marketing, your group is particularly well placed to progress, backed by improved processing facilities and efficiencies.

Everyone within the group deserves thanks for their loyalty and effort in 1985. With such support continuing we can face any challenges with confidence.

I wish everyone health, happiness and success in 1986 – Peter Johnston.

View from Asia

Three senior men from Weddel’s Asian concerns visited New Zealand during 1985 and their message was that the East has huge market potential.

Hugh Haslehust-Smith, manager of the Hong Kong Refrigerating Company and its subsidiary Aberdeen Textiles, came in May, mainly to promote Aberdeen Textile’s product stockinette – the wrapping used for mutton and lamb. “Stockinette manufacture is a highly valued part of our business and we have recently recorded increases in sales of it in this part of the world,” he said. He reports to Jerry Hodkinson, who was here in October.

Continued page 2

Photo caption – Hugh Haslehust-Smith

Good news from Eastern markets

From page 1

Mr Hodkinson is General Manager of HKRCo and Aberdeen Textiles and the Managing Director of Anchor Foods (Hong Kong). Anchor Foods is a joint venture company between HKRCo and the NZ Dairy Board which distributes New Zealand’s dairy produce through the East, including China.

“The Dairy Board is showing a good appreciation of overseas markets,” says Mr Hodkinson.

Mr Hodkinson began with the Vestey Group in 1960, and became General Manager, Hong Kong, in 1975.

While in New Zealand he looked at the slink skin operation, visited the Meat Board, Westfield, the portion packing room at Tomoana, and studied recent developments in retail packaging.

Mr Hodkinson reports to Barry Cook General Manager for Weddel’s Far East operations.

Mr Cook’s area covers Sri Lanka, China, the Philippines and Taiwan, with offices in Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka and Hong Kong, with five branches in Malaysia, a big office in Hong Kong and a massive cool store in Hong Kong.

“No other food company could match our overall Far East trading activities the close, in-depth working knowledge of the. markets there,” says Mr Cook.

As well as attending the Dairy Board meeting, he was particularly interested in Southern Peaks, the sea- foods operation in Auckland and NZ Light Leathers in Timaru.

The formation of Southern Peaks, he says, shows that W & R Fletcher is truly market-oriented and is making good progress in remaining competitive.

Hong Kong Refrigerating Company is a sister company of W & R Fletcher. They are both 100 percent owned by the Vestey Group through Union International.

The company is split into three sections:
A trading division, which imports, stores and distributes to Hong Kong airlines, hotels, shipping lines and bakeries with its own delivery fleet.
A commission based division which act as agents for items such as leather, wool, hides and bone meal, and as export agents from China and Hong Kong as a service to other group companies.
A product division, which consists of the stockinette manufacturer Aberdeen Textiles.

HKRCo also represents exclusively the NZ Meat Producer’s Board’s interests in Taiwan and Hong Kong in lamb and mutton. Beef, vegetables, fish and egg products are imported through W & R Fletchers, which is an export agent of the NZ Poultry Board.

The total staff of HKRCo is 140, with a small expatriate management team.

The company currently handles between 1800 and 2000 tonnes per month into markets in Hong Kong and surrounding areas.

Photo captions –

Headquarters of the Hong Kong Refrigerating Company near the container port in Hong Kong.

Barry Cook

Warm news from a cold Climate

A letter of warm praise for W & R Fletcher’s products arrived on export manager Bruce Bishop’s desk earlier this year.

Nothing unusual about that, except that it was postmarket [postmarked] Antarctica.

The letter came from Robert Swan, expedition leader of the “In the Footsteps of Scott Antarctic Expedition 1984-86” and read:

“Here we are, in the middle of winter. It is always dark and the temperature has fallen to an average of minus 30 degrees.

“The kind donation of meat from W & R Fletcher is being very much appreciated by the five of us wintering here at Cape Evans. It has kept well in spite of the cold. Some of our other meat has disintegrated in the can or containers. Yours is fine.

“Thank you for your help in keeping our diet varied but healthy.

Robert and the team are to return to New Zealand early in ’86, after attempting the South Pole on foot a walk of 1,450 kilometres!

They’re prepared

Westfield Freezing Works has a fire brigade it can be proud of.

They are the champion of champions at the suburban level – which they won against eight over teams at a Waiheke Island competition.

Westfield also won the recent interworks competitions against Tomoana.

The Westfield team is a dedicated one, training every Monday night and working together with speed and discipline.

Its chief is fitters’ foreman Brian Molloy and the paymaster, fitters, meat graders and others make up the team.

Trophies for the interworks were presented by Mr Peter Johnston, Group General Manager, who also presented to Ross Whittle a brigade life honorary medal for 21 years service.

Photo caption – Left: Peter Rowe, Arama Tom, Steven Shepherd, Tony Pak – a winning team.

Chris Bing with Exports Manager Bruce Bishop in WHF’s head office discuss the opening of the Suva office. Story, page one.

Leather in the limelight

Leather was the focus of this year’s Hawke’s Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Show.

NZ Light Leathers Ltd and three others participated with manufacturers and retailers in setting up 22 displays under three vast canvases.

The Expo told the story of leather its development from the tanned wet blue state through to the finished article in the shops.

The first tent showed hides with farm related faults, which occur mostly through dog bites, seed scars, inoculation and shearing.

In the second tent finished leather items such as handbags, belts, saddles and clothes were displayed. A colourful leather fan spanned a full wall, allowing people to touch and drape different coloured leathers over themselves.

But perhaps the highlight of the Expo was the fashion parade, staged over three days before a total of about 50,000 people. Most of the 57 garments on show were of lamb skin from NZ Light Leathers, and included a leather bikini.

Comings and goings

Laurie Twidle, assistant trade foreman, Westfield, retired recently after 20 years service.

Sue Brown, personnel manager Head Office has left to have a family. She has been replaced by Peter Johnson.

David Clarke has joined as the assistant company secretary.

Graham Clark has transferred from Head Office production to become superintendent, boning and cutting at Westfield.

Nigel Hales is the new wool scour foreman at Tomoana, where he has worked as sorter for the past three years.

Bruce Healey has joined the Tomoana staff as an electrician foreman. He has been leading hand for the electricians at Kaiti for the past 14 years.

Gisborne again!

Gisborne cleaned up in the W & R Fletcher golf tourney, played at Taupo in September.

For the third year in a row Gisborne won the main teams event against Wellington, Westfield and Tomoana, and dominated in other events.

Captain of the Gisborne team, Allan Edwards, works manager, won the W & R Fletcher Cup for individual best nett, and runner up for the Shipping Corp. Cup was Maurice Taylor, manager of Nelsons (NZ) Ltd Gisborne.

The Blue Port ACT Cup for best stableford went to Brian Forde, the Supervising meat inspector, Kaiti, and the Cryovac Cup for best individual round of the weekend went to the manager of the Kaiti butcher ship, Phil Doleman [Doelman].

Which left the Wally Knight Cup for best par, picked up by Auckland Meat Co’s Peter Froude, and the Mark Hinchliff Trophy, won by Danny McComb of the Wellington accounts department.

“Wellington retrieved the wooden spoon from Tomoana.

Pictured: Allan Edwards receives the Rowlands Shield from Group General Manager Peter Johnston.

Long and loyal service

Three staff at Westfield works have clocked up nearly 150 years service between them.

Dave Jury, Eddie Walker and Lou Jefferis recently received gold watches for their loyal service.

Dave, a beef butcher who joined in 1936, is a quiet family man and motorbike fan. He is always ready to lend a helping hand, either with motorbike repairs or teaching newcomers the best ways of butchery and knife sharpening.

Eddie also joined in 1936. He is the number one legger at the works, and no-one technique for removing the trotter. Colourful and happy-go- lucky, Eddie is a keen armchair sportsman.

Lou joined the company in July 1940 and for many years had a brother at the works too. He is a boner.

Photo caption – Lou Jefferis, Eddie Walker and Dave Jury . . . a lot of experience to share.

Good effort

Grahame Deans and Neil Pritchard from the Hastings Tanneries completed another marathon in August.

Their times were 3hrs 17 and 3hrs 30 respectively.

The two were among 500 others who competed in the race.

A sad loss

Management and staff of the Gisborne Refrigerating Company Limited were saddened to learn of the death of the recently retired Harry (Choc) Ngaira in September.

Mr Ngaira commenced at GRC on 10/5/1941 and 20 years later joined the staff. For many years he was the beefhouse supervising foreman, a position he relinquished this year, after nearly 44 years service.

He was very well known in Maori and rugby circles in the district.

GRC and WRF extend their deepest sympathy to Mrs Ngaira and family on their sad loss.

Original digital file


Business / Organisation

W & R Fletcher (NZ) Ltd

Date published

Summer 1985

Format of the original



  • Chris Bing
  • Bruce Bishop
  • Sue Brown
  • Graham Clark
  • David Clarke
  • Barry Cook
  • Grahame Deans
  • Phil Doelman
  • Allan Edwards
  • Brian Forde
  • Nigel Hales
  • Hugh Haslehurst-Smith
  • Bruce Healey
  • Jerry Hodkinson
  • Lou Jefferies
  • Peter Johnston
  • Dave Jury
  • Vijay Kumar
  • Danny McComb
  • Stuart Mills
  • Brian Molloy
  • Mr and Mrs Harry (Choc) Ngaira
  • Tony Pak
  • Peter Rowe
  • Steven Shepherd
  • Robert Swan
  • Maurice Taylor
  • Arama Tom
  • Laurie Twidle
  • Eddie Walker
  • Ross Whittle

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