Fifty years in the chocolate trade
It’s not hard to see why Margaret Walker and Carole Davies think their jobs are pretty sweet.
The pair celebrated 50 years working for confectionery company Cadbury last week and were rewarded for their dedication with a makeover, a special lunch with old workmates, and a night in a swanky hotel.
“We were very spoiled,” Mrs Walker says.
The Mt Albert resident started in the flakes department at Griffins and Sons in 1959 in Grey Lynn when the company still made breakfast cereal.
She then moved on to the marshmallow department at the Avondale-based factory in 1976, where she’s still based today.
“The marshmallows used to be beautifully big and fluffy and we’d cut them with an old guillotine,” she says.
She says there have been huge changes in the industry since she began all those years ago.
“When I first started it was all hand-packing and everything was wrapped in brown paper.
“Today it’s all automated machinery. It’s faster and can supply more.”
Now she helps run the staff shop, along with continuing to pack the sweets.
Miss Davies started her working life as a packer at Sweetacres confectionery in the city, before moving to the Avondale factory when it opened in 1961.
The Pt Chevalier resident saw Sweetacres taken over by Griffins and then Cadbury in 1990, but she says they’ve always looked after their staff.
“They have been such a good company to work for and I like the work,” she says.
At 66 years old, both women are looking at retirement when the Avondale factory closes later this year as confectionery productions move to Dunedin and Australia.
“It’ll be sad to see it shut,” Mrs Walker says.
“I’ve worked with other ladies there for 25 and 30 years.”
Both women have plans to do charity work when their time at Cadbury is done.
Cadbury New Zealand managing director Matthew Oldham describes the pair’s years of dedication to one company as “inspirational”.
“I, along with the whole team, have such pride, respect and admiration for Carole and Margaret’s hard work and commitment.”
Sweet job: Margaret Walker and Carole Davies celebrated 50 years of working for Cadbury last week.