Rockit Global announces new 21,000m3 facility in Hastings
Rockit Global announces new 21,000m3 facility in Hastings.
Rockit Global Ltd. (RGL), the Hawke’s Bay apple company experiencing exponential growth in the highly competitive snack sector, is taking the next step in its journey, making a “significant investment” in a new site for its headquarters and post-harvest activity.
The company has purchased land in the Irongate Industrial Park, in Longlands, Hastings, and aims to open the state-of-the-art facility in advance of the 2021 apple harvest.
Today, Rockit Global CEO Austin Mortimer, key staff and invited guests attended a blessing of the site, led by kaumātua Jerry Hapuku of Ngāti Kahungunu.
Austin says moving forward with the purpose-built coolstore, packhouse and global headquarters is a monumental milestone for Rockit Global, who have outgrown their current Havelock North premises. “This project signifies the growth of the apple industry in Hawke’s Bay, and signals the coming of age of Rockit and a reflection of our confidence and belief in our product and brand,” says Austin, who took the reins at Rockit in 2015.
The company commenced “an exhaustive search and analysis of potential spaces and spatial requirements” last year before deciding on the Irongate opportunity. “One of the many benefits of Irongate is the proximity to three of our existing orchards. It also gives us scope for further expansion as we continue to grow, and the site is flexible, so we are able to use the space efficiently for packing and cool storage.”
The build will take place over two stages. Stage one will create the new office suite, cool storage and highly automated, high spec packhouse, with a mezzanine level allowing packaging material to be gravity fed. The second phase, earmarked for 2025, is likely to add in further processing technology to provide further capacity for production through to 2030 and beyond. “We have considered the footprint of the land and allowed provision to double the size of our packing area and finished goods storage. We’ve also considered possible expansion into further brand extensions.”
The project team drew on Rockit’s in-house expertise to generate initial designs, which were then brought to life by Strata Group, with Duncan Bruce the key sponsor. “The team at Strata Group has thoroughly enjoyed working on this homegrown project,” says Duncan. “Rockit Global are market leaders and this development exemplifies the innovation and attention to detail we’ve come to expect from one of Hawke’s Bay’s most successful companies.”
MCL, who have spearheaded many successful projects across Hawke’s Bay, will lead the build. “This is one of the largest contracts MCL Construction has been involved in and we look forward to providing a high-quality build for Rockit Global,” says John Bower of MCL.
Rockit Global has become world renowned for its miniature Rockit™ apples which are now sold in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, the US and here in New Zealand. Earlier this year, the company launched a new, kraft cardboard pack for its snack-sized apples. The 100% biodegradable and recyclable cardboard is a more environmentally conscious packaging option, is sourced from sustainably managed forests and is PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) approved.
There has been consideration of RGL’s ambition of doing no harm to the environment as it grows the business and builds the new facility. “We will be dealing with the treatment and discharge of all our own waste water, the refrigeration plant will have a zero global warming impact and we’re looking into the use and placement of solar panels as a sustainable source of electricity,” Austin says.
He expects staff to begin moving into the new premises at the end of 2020, in preparation for the following harvest.
“This is an electrifying milestone in Rockit Global’s growth and will step-change our business. We have certainly outgrown our current site with the many new people we have employed, some of whom have relocated from Auckland and abroad. While it will be a little sad to leave our current space in Havelock North – a community in which we have close ties – we look forward to enjoying a new space and all that this represents.”