Decade of steady business growth
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.