Rural round-up

December 21, 2014

Chinese seek bigger stake in Oamaru meat plant – Sally Rae:

Overseas Investment Office approval is being sought to increase a Chinese-based shareholding in Lean Meats’ Oamaru plant.

NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, whose shares were owned by Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co Ltd, has already bought a 24.9% stake in the plant and wants to increase that to 50%.

Yesterday, Richard Thorp, who finishes this week as chief executive of Lean Meats and will join NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods as chief operating officer, said it was positive news for North Otago. . .

Other iwi benefiting from sweet success:

The Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation is sharing its business knowledge with neighbouring tribes to help generate money for their descendants by using land that’s unsuitable for beef and sheep farming.

Last year, the incorporation collaborated with the Ruapehu iwi Ngāti Rangi to survey the Whanganui River valley using traditional knowledge and modern science to identify the potential of harvesting mānuka honey.

The incorporation’s chairperson, Mavis Mullins, says it is now sharing that information with other tribes, which is paying off as they include different ways of making the whenua more productive. . .

Fashion queen weaves good yarn – Rob Stock:

Few people can claim to have developed a genuinely new fibre. Peri Drysdale has just unveiled her second.

Twenty years ago, Drysdale, founder of Christchurch’s Snowy Peak and Untouched World, blended possum fur, which had previously been considered too short for weaving, with merino wool to create “merinomink”, a much-mimicked yarn that launched an industry.

“It was the first new yarn in 200 years,” Drysdale said. “Now we’ve done it again.” 

Drysdale has now unveiled a textile she’s called Kapua in the Untouched World range, the Maori name for cloud, which she hopes will command prices even higher than merinomink. . .

The big kill – New Zealand’s crusade to rid itself of mammals – Elizabeth Kolbert:

In the days—perhaps weeks—it had spent in the trap, the stoat had lost most of its fur, so it looked as if it had been flayed. Its exposed skin was the deep, dull purple of a bruise, and it was coated in an oily sheen, like a sausage. Stoat traps are often baited with eggs, and this one contained an empty shell. Kevin Adshead, who had set the trap, poked at the stoat with a screwdriver. It writhed and squirmed, as if attempting to rise from the dead. Then it disgorged a column of maggots.

“Look at those teeth,” Adshead said, pointing with his screwdriver at the decomposing snout.

Adshead, who is sixty-four, lives about an hour north of Auckland. He and his wife, Gill, own a thirty-five-hundred-acre farm, where for many years they raised cows and sheep. About a decade ago, they decided they’d had enough of farming and left to do volunteer work in the Solomon Islands. When they returned, they began to look at the place differently. They noticed that many of the trees on the property, which should have been producing cascades of red flowers around Christmastime, instead were stripped bare. That was the work of brushtail possums. To save the trees, the Adsheads decided to eliminate the possums, a process that involved dosing them with cyanide. . .

RWNZ windfall to benefit rural communities – Yvonne OHara:

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) sold its home care organisation, Access Homehealth Limited (Access), to Green Cross Health for $18 million last month and intends to use the money to further enhance its charitable and advocacy work in rural communities.

Access, which had its beginnings in a 1920’s bush nurse scheme, provides home health care services to more than 16,000 people throughout New Zealand, including in Otago and Southland, and is one of the largest home care providers in the country, with contracts with DHBs, the Ministry of Health and ACC. Access chief executive Graeme Titcombe said Green Cross Health would continue to provide specialised home-based care and support, as well as funding the organisation’s rural scholarships and awards and Access’s 4000 staff would retain their jobs. . .

Ram breeder a CT scanning fan  – Tim Cronshaw:

A Canterbury ram stud breeder has become a convert to CT scanning after selling a southdown ram for $14,000.

Brent Macaulay, from Maclaka stud, Lincoln, was one of two breeders to take the top price honours, with Chris Medlicott’s ram from his Clifton Downs Southdown stud sharing the same price, at the Canterbury A&P Association’s Elite Ram and Ewe Sale last month.

Both breeders sent their sires through a Lincoln University CT scanner as ram hoggets to examine their bone and muscle composition.

Macaulay was so impressed that he will be sending another five or six rams with sires from other southdown breeders for CT scanning in February or March. . .

 

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image Hat tip Utopia


Rural round-up

December 9, 2014

Beef + Lamb, Open Polytechnic Join Forces for Productivity:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has teamed up with Open Polytechnic to provide specialist agribusiness training for sheep and beef farmers – just one plank of a wider strategic initiative to find ways to increase the long-term, sustainable profitability of the red meat sector.

B+LNZ and Open Polytechnic are now inviting sheep and beef farmers to register their interest in the training. Timing and locations will be determined by uptake.

Known as “Farm Smarter”, the programme focuses on agribusiness profitability and production management. Farmers who complete the course qualify for a National Certificate in Agriculture (Production Management, Level 5).

Doug Macredie, B+LNZ sector capability project manager, said: “Participants will learn how to use customised tools to save time and add value to their farming businesses. Particular emphasis is placed on analysing existing resources and benchmarking from high performing properties to set and monitor future goals.” . .

The Wairere maxim: Only the strong survive – Jon Morgan:

Asked to explain the key to being a successful sheep breeder, Derek Daniell thinks for a second or two, then smiles and says: “Well, to put it simply, it’s about tits and bums.”

He looks down the hill to a small group of two-tooth ewes hugging the shade of an overhanging bank and explains. “It’s tits because the ewes need to be good milkers and rear big lambs.”

He points to the two-tooth rams on the hillside above him and adds, “and it’s bums because that’s where most of the meat is.”

The sheep are romneys, the breed that is the mainstay of his Wairere stud in the inhospitable hills of northern Wairarapa.. . .

NZX dairy futures curve flattens ahead of Fonterra’s review – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group may cut its forecast milk payout by a fifth this week with dwindling prospects that the price of whole milk powder will recover enough to support its current estimate.

Whole milk powder sold at US$2,229 a tonne in last week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction and would need to surge 57 percent by March to reach the US$3,500 a tonne level that Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings has said the current forecast payout of $5.30 a kilogram of milk solids is predicated on.

The chances of that sort of recovery are slipping away. NZX Whole Milk Powder Futures contracts have tumbled in the past three weeks, with contracts scheduled to expire in April to July 2015 dropping more than nearer-dated contracts. For example, May 2015 WMP futures have fallen to US$2,410 a tonne from US$2,950/tonne on Nov. 18. June 2015 futures have declined to US$2,500/tonne from US$3,025/tonne. . . .

Venison firm confident of industry’s future:

A fall in farmed deer numbers is not discouraging venison processor and exporter Duncan and Co.

The business has just expanded its operation by taking full ownership of Otago Venison Ltd. at Mosgiel.

Duncan and Co has had a shareholding in the Otago plant since it started 21 years ago.

General marketing manager Glenn Tyrrell said there had been a decline in the number of smaller scale deer farms as a result of dairy expansion. . .

Winning cider years in the making:

Top quality cider begins in the orchard with specialty trees, which like wine from older vines, gets better with age, an award winning Hawke’s Bay cider maker says.

Paul Paynter, a fifth generation apple grower, picked up the Cider Trophy at this year’s New Zealand Fruit Wine and Cider Makers Awards for his Paynter’s Cider.

The award winning drink had been eight years in the making, and began in the back shed. . .

World’s First for Fashion From Untouched World™:

Leading New Zealand lifestyle fashion brand Untouched World launches KAPUA™, an exclusive new knitwear development that sets the benchmark for supreme luxury and comfort.

Kapua, being the Maori word for cloud, truly expresses the sensation of this new knitwear. It is another example of innovation from Snowy Peak Ltd, parent company of Untouched World™.

By blending three of nature’s finest fibres; luxurious cashmere (40%), the new dehaired delicate winter downy undercoat of the possum (40%), and silk (20%), they have created an ultra-luxurious yarn.

CEO Peri Drysdale is overwhelmed with the response they’ve received since unveiling Kapua. “To hear people describe it as exquisite, covetable and the most luxurious textile they’ve ever touched, just makes all the development work worthwhile” she says. . .

 

 


President wears Untouched World

November 29, 2014

An official Whitehouse photo of President Barack Obama phoning troops for Thanksgiving shows him wearing a merinomink – merino and possum – jumper from New Zealand’s Untouched World:

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This is publicity money can’t buy for the company which is understandably delighted at the unintentional endorsement:

Christchurch clothing brand Untouched World is bracing for a surge in sales after United States President Barack Obama was photographed wearing one of their jumpers in the White House Oval Office.

Mr Obama donned the dark grey merino and possum-blend pullover as he made Thanksgiving Day phone calls to US troops and service members from behind the most famous desk in the US.

Untouched World CEO Peri Drysdale is thrilled with the “happy accident”.

“What’s really nice about it is that it’s something he’s gotten up in the morning and chosen to wear, so it’s really cool,” she says.

She believes the sweatshirt, which retails for NZ$399, was given to Mr Obama by Prime Minister John Key when Mr Key visited the White House in June. . .

Mr Obama is the second US President to be pictured in Untouched World clothing. Bill Clinton has been a fan ever since being given one of the brand’s jackets at the APEC conference in Auckland in 1999. . .

Merino and possum is warmer than wool by itself, it’s soft, silky and wears well.

I’ve owned a jumper similar to the one the president is wearing for several years. In spite of many wears and several washes it still looks good.

Untouched World’s website is here.


World class who?

June 2, 2014

Do you know who Claudia Batten, Andrew Adamson, Neville Jordan,Dr Catherine Mohr  and Dr Murray Brennan are?

They were honoured at the 2014 World Class New Zealand Awards last week but I suspect most of us know little about the awards, or those who won them.

. . . digital entrepreneur Claudia Batten was named the youngest ever Supreme Award winner.

Ms Batten, 39, stood out as not only a serial entrepreneur but also for her “degree of engagement” in supporting other Kiwis in the start-up scene, according to one of the judges, Phil Veal.

“She’d achieved a remarkable measure of success but she had actively in the last several years been engaged in giving back to New Zealand,” Mr Veal said.

Colorado-based Ms Batten, who began her career in commercial law, was a founding member of two highly successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Others recognised included Andrew Adamson, director of the animated box office hit Shrek, who flew from Russia to receive his award for services to the creative sector.

Multi-millionaire Wellington businessman-turned-investor Neville Jordan accepted his award for services to business and investment.

Surgical robotics technologist Dr Catherine Mohr was recognised for her global impact on life sciences and renowned surgical oncologist Dr Murray Brennan was awarded for his contributions to research.

World Class New Zealand also acknowledged the substantial impact American technology entrepreneur and Kiwi Landing Pad director Craig Elliott has had on New Zealand’s standing in America’s tech world, announcing him this year’s Friend of New Zealand.

The awards, established by Kea (Kiwi Expatriates Association) New Zealand in 2003, include among past winners former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Don McKinnon, fashion entrepreneur Peri Drysdale and physicist Sir Paul Callaghan, who was recognised posthumously in 2012.

Kea New Zealand global chief executive Craig Donaldson said last night’s winners were saluted for taking flight and creating global success against all odds.

“Their success has been earned in workplaces far less glamorous than the world-famous sports fields and concert stages but their contribution to our country is immense and should be widely promoted to inspire others to dream big.”

Had they won on sports fields or concert stages we’d probably know more about them.

But success in business and science usually take place below the popular radar.

Mr Donaldson said the awards played a vital role in recognising “tall poppies”, particularly when New Zealanders were not confident at promoting their successes.

“There are so many amazing Kiwis around the world who have done world-class things but none of us have heard about them.” . . .

More’s the pity.

Success in business, science and any other positive field of endeavour should be celebrated the way successes in sport and the arts are.

This year’s judges included Sir Tipene O’Regan, Professor Margaret Brimble, Dr Craig Nevill-Manning, Peri Drysdale, Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas and Jon Mayson.

Q & A The Herald asked the six winners the same set of questions:

1. Was there a specific moment or turning point that helped launch your career? What drove you to make the choices you made?
2. In your opinion, is there something special that sets Kiwis apart or helps Kiwis succeed on the world stage?
3. What can New Zealanders do better to improve their chances of success overseas?
4. Which one New Zealander do you feel epitomises the Kiwi attitude to success and why?
5. What does being a World Class New Zealander mean to you?
6. Sum up your career in 10 words or less.

Answers include:

Dr Murray Brennan . . .

3. Having your own vision is important, but equally so is the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes and see the opportunities that they see. It may be a given, but hard work isn’t just an important factor in success, it’s inevitable. . .

5. A deep feeling of gratitude. While I have been recognised in other parts of the world for my work, to be honoured with this award here in New Zealand by such an esteemed group of judges is a special milestone.

6. Otago education, serendipity, hard work, tenacity, vision, next generation investment.

Dr Catherine Mohr . . .

3. Our greatest strengths are often the source of vulnerabilities as well. The very dauntless attitude that leads Kiwis to take on anything, can lead to a tendency to reinvent when it might be better to adapt, or to change what is there currently, when it may be better to simply move forward. . . 

5. As a New Zealander who largely grew up away from New Zealand, being a Kiwi has always been an anchor of my identity. I felt great pride to be a part of this community. It is an incredible honour to be receiving this award. It is like being welcomed home.

6. Finding ways to use technology to improve the human condition.

Neville Jordan . . .

3. Understand their place in the world and behave as a world citizen. . .

5. It provides a quiet space within; to reflect on and about all those who have helped me along the way.

6. Vision, courage and stamina.

Claudia Batten . . . 

3. We have to realise that when we step on to the world stage there is another code, another set of rules, and learn them. I think we can be a little naive; a little too “smell of the oily rag”.

4. Maybe it’s human nature to want to hear about soap stars and athletes. I find it repetitive and uninspired. We should talk about the Sarah Robb O’Hagans, Victoria Ransoms, Greg Crosses, Jonty Kelts and Guy Horrocks a lot more than we do every one of them pushing boundaries and setting new standards internationally.

5. As Kiwis on the world stage we have an obligation to represent all the positives that people associate with New Zealanders and then take it to another level. We need to be out there setting the groundwork so that others can have a slightly less bumpy road as they come in behind us.

6. A squiggly line!

Craig Elliott . . .

3. New Zealanders should not be afraid to raise their hands and tell the world about their good ideas. . . .

5. Being an “American” World Class New Zealander allows me to help more New Zealand entrepreneurs and serve as their network into Silicon Valley. Any way I can bring attention to the innovation in New Zealand is fantastic and I’m honoured to be able to help.

6. Farm boy turned high tech CEO/fly fisherman.

 This refers to those who’ve been awarded Queen’s Birthday honours, but it applies equally to these people and the many others most of us don’t know who make a positive difference every day:

It’s important that we recognise those who make a difference in our communities.


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