Decade of steady busi­ness growth

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By IRIS RIDDELL

Fon­terra is 10 this year and Mata­mata share­hold­ers’ coun­cil­lor Grant Wills said busi­ness was strong.

‘‘There’s been a lot of de­vel­op­ment over these 10 years and many ef­fi­cien­cies have been gained. For in­stance, the cost of man­u­fac­tur­ing a kilo of milk­solids has de­creased over that time,’’ Mr Wills said. ‘‘If Fon­terra’s do­ing well, the com­mu­nity is go­ing to ben­e­fit. We’re hard task masters so we al­ways ex­pect to do bet­ter.’’

Mr Wills, who has just been re­elected to the share­hold­ers’ coun­cil for the third time, grew up in Wal­ton and his chil­dren have just fin­ished at Mata­mata Col­lege. He con­sid­ers him­self ‘‘very much a Mata­mata com­mu­nity per­son’’.

‘‘I’m a dairy farmer and I rep­re­sent the 350-odd Fon­terra farm­ers from Ti­rau to Ki­witahi,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple in my role to be as close to the farm as pos­si­ble. If I lived in Auck­land all my life I’m not go­ing to be able to un­der­stand their views so well.’’ Mak­ing sure Mata­mata farm­ers got their fair say could be a tough job at times, he said.

‘‘With 10,000 farm­ers, it’s easy to feel lost in the crowd.

‘‘Ev­ery­one still has their votes but it’s also im­por­tant that ev­ery­one feels like their opinion can be heard,’’ he said. ‘‘ And since Fon­terra is a co-op we’re all part own­ers so peo­ple need to have an un­der­stand­ing of what hap­pens in the com­pany, too.’’

Mr Wills is now in charge of the new co-op­er­a­tive de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee for cre­at­ing ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties and pro­grammes for share­hold­ers to re­veal more of what Fon­terra does be­yond the farm gate.

To com­mem­o­rate 10 years of busi­ness, Fon­terra held cel­e­bra­tions around New Zealand in the coun­try’s dairy­ing cen­tres.

The Fon­terra Shout for the Waikato was held at the Hamil­ton Lake Do­main last week­end and in­cluded live en­ter­tain­ment by Hello Sailor, an all-day sausage siz­zle and free ice cream.

Happy birth­day Fon­terra: Mata­mata’s Grant Wills from Fon­terra gets an early ice­cream at Hamil­ton Lake be­fore the big birth­day bash that marked Fon­terra’s 10th birth­day.

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