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Kiwi Heritage and Change Marked by Mitre 10

30 November 2012

Kiwi Heritage and Change Marked by Mitre 10

After nearly forty years of providing the country with the tools for DIY the country’s largest home improvement and garden retailer is marking its Kiwi heritage with the launch of a commemorative book and embracing change with the appointment of a new board member.

At the annual AGM held in Auckland on Wednesday (21 November) the 329-page hard cover book was officially unveiled and presented to the company’s member principals including nine board members and past Mitre 10 chairmen.

Titled “The Mitre 10 Story” the book charts the history of the families at the forefront of the co-operative and the evolution of the business in line with the country’s changing DIY and home improvement landscape.

Mitre 10 NZ Chief Executive Officer, John Hartmann said, “As a company we pride ourselves on our New Zealand owned and operated status and the iconic Kiwi values that underpin our business.

“Mitre 10 is a true Kiwi success story beginning from humble roots and growing over the decades due to the hard work of the families at the forefront.

“A number of our member principals and board members are descendants of the families that pioneered Mitre 10 in New Zealand so it is a great pleasure to take the time to celebrate the many milestones the company has reached and to celebrate our Kiwi heritage.”

Present at the AGM was the book’s author and former Mitre 10 chairman Gordon Gellen. Gordon spent 31 years as General Manager of Langs Mitre 10 Home & Trade in Wellington, served on the Board of Directors for 21 years and held the position of Chairman from 1977-1980.

“I’ve had the privilege of seeing Mitre 10 New Zealand grow from day one so it was a real pleasure to be able to document the company’s story,” Gordon said.

“This book marks a major milestone for Mitre 10 and documents the remarkable progress the company has made; today comprising of 34 Mitre 10 MEGA stores, close to 50 smaller Mitre 10 stores and 60 local Hammer Hardware outlets.

“Having talked with Mitre 10 store owners, past and present it is evident that the spirit of the cooperative that Mitre 10 fosters has led the company to where it stands currently as the country’s largest home improvement and garden retailer.”

The AGM also marked the retirement of longtime board member Leonard Heard.

Joining Mitre 10 in 1985 following the purchase of a local hardware store Leonard operated Mitre 10 Waiuku for 23 years and served on the Board for 20 years with nine years as chairman.

A member of an entrepreneurial family, Leonard joined Mitre 10 after managing Heards Candy Factory, which was established by his father in 1914 and fast become the nation’s favourite candy. Today, Heards confectionary remains a Kiwi icon.

Although celebrating the past, Mitre 10 also welcomed change with the appointment of experienced Director David Jackson as an independent member to the co-operative’s Board.

As with many co-operative’s the Board is predominantly made up of members but Mr Jackson will be an independent advisor replacing John Spencer who has become a Mitre 10 Director after serving as independent advisor to the Board.

“It is refreshing to have this independent sort that can help us take a more outward looking perspective,” Mitre 10 chairman Martin Dippie said. “In David Jackson’s case we also have an independent advisor who has a deep understanding of co-ops and how they work, experienced gained from his on-going role with Fonterra and through his work with co-operatives as an audit partner at Ernst and Young.

“I think his skills will be invaluable to us as we continue to expand and invest in our network of stores, look for new members and continue to consolidate our place as the No.1 home improvement and garden retailer in New Zealand.”

As well as his role with Fonterra Mr Jackson is the current chairman of the New Zealand Refining Company, he also chairs Moturoa Island Ltd and is a director of Nuplex Industries Ltd.

He has previously served on the Boards of Pumpkin Patch and Mediaworks and was a member of Securities Commission. He is a former chairman of Ernst and Young and has been a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1994, where he has held several roles including Chair of the professional Practices Board.

"The Mitre 10 Story” is available for purchase for $79.95. Copies can be ordered through Mitre 10 or Mitre 10 MEGA stores.


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