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Seeka reaches 10 million kiwifruit trays a season

Seeka is first kiwifruit supplier to reach 10 million trays a season

Kiwifruit pioneer John MacLoughlin is congratulated by Seeka Growers Limited chairman Malcolm Cartwright and Zespri chief executive Tim Goodacre, as the ten millionth tray to be processed by Seeka for harvest 2004 passed through the MacLoughlin packhouse.

This is the first time one of Zespri's suppliers has processed 10 million trays in a season, and fittingly comes as the industry celebrates 100 years of kiwifruit in New Zealand.

The 10,000,000 tray presentation ceremony occurred at MacLoughlin Packhouse on Number 3 Road, Te Puke at 10:00am Friday 4 June.

John MacLoughlin was brought up on one of Te Puke's first kiwifruit orchards and was a grower for many years. His father Jim MacLoughlin was one of the first to plant kiwifruit in Number 3 Road, Te Puke, in the 1930s, and was the first to export kiwifruit to England in 1952. It was Jim who presented the then minister of agriculture Duncan MacIntyre with the one millionth tray of export kiwifruit in 1976.

The MacLoughlin packhouse on Number 3 Road is one of the first kiwifruit packhouses in New Zealand. Starting from a home-made shed where the MacLoughlin family packed their own kiwifruit, the family spent $40,000 in 1974 building a coolstore and packing facility with a throughput of 1000 trays per day.

Now owned by Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Limited, MacLoughlin now features an eight-lane grader capable of processing more than 5000 trays per hour. It is one of 13 major packing and storage facilities operated by Seeka as they processed their 10 millionth tray of fruit from harvest 2004. Seeka expects it will have processed nearly 11 million Class I trays by the time the season ends.

Malcolm Cartwright's speech

Today we are celebrating teamwork. How growers, pickers, graders, packers and supervisors have all worked together to achieve something extraordinary.

Through our efforts, we've become the first team to process 10 million trays of export kiwifruit in a season.

Through our efforts, we're supplying the world with a highly-valued and nutritious fruit, and along the way we've built one of the most vibrant and productive rural communities in New Zealand.

Twenty eight years ago, kiwifruit pioneer Jim MacLoughlin presented the then minister of agriculture Duncan MacIntyre with the one millionth tray of export kiwifruit.

Today, Jim's son John MacLoughlin, and Zespri chief executive Tim Goodacre, are here to celebrate with you, the Seeka team, a new milestone in the industry.

Seeka's 10 millionth tray of export kiwifruit from harvest 2004 was today packed at the MacLoughlin Packhouse.

Fittingly this comes as our industry celebrates its first 100 years in New Zealand.

It's a time when we've been celebrating the pioneers. But its also a time to celebrate your efforts, and your ongoing support, which have created our billion dollar industry.

On behalf of Seeka Growers Limited, I thank all of you, growers, pickers, packhouse and office workers, and look forward to our ongoing success in the kiwifruit capital of the world.

Some background information ( see www.seeka.co.nz )

Malcolm is the chair of Seeka Growers Limited (note: not Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Limited). Seeka Growers Limited is a grower-controlled company, directed by an elected Grower Council, of which Malcolm is the chairman.

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Limited is a shareholder-owned company listed on the NZAX which owns the packhouses and provides services to Seeka Growers Limited.

Seeka Growers Limited contracts with Zespri to supply fruit for international sales, plus with growers to handle their fruit. It then contracts with Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Limited to provide the necessary post harvest services.

Processing 15 per cent of New Zealand's total kiwifruit production, Seeka is New Zealand's largest integrated kiwifruit supplier servicing the Bay of Plenty's major growing regions of Te Puke, Tauranga and Katikati.

For harvest 2004, Seeka will be employing more than 1200 people to get 11 million trays of kiwifruit picked, packed, stored and then shipped to Zespri's international markets.

Seeka's outstanding record for corporate governance, plus transparent business processes, lead to Seeka being selected for the NZAX First XV - as one of the first 15 companies to be listed on the NZAX.

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