New in­dus­try HQs ‘invit­ing to grow­ers’

The Orchardist - - News - By Alison McCul­loch

The open­ing p-wasagrandaf­fair­with­afor­malowhiri to wel­come i theK-M-aorik­ing, ngi Tuheitia, and manuhiri (vis­i­tors) to the site. Trade Min­is­ter Todd McClay and Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Web­ber also at­tended. Michael Franks i saidK-Seekawashon­ouredthat ngi Tuheitia had agreed to

open the new head­quar­ters, adding that the com­pany had a In late March, Seeka opened $4 mil­lion re­fur­bished of­fices long as­so­ci­a­tion with iwi in the re­gion, and had bought the at the site of the for­mer Kiwi 360 tourist spot north of Te orig­i­nal build­ing and land from a lo­cal M-aori trust. Puke. Ze­spri is also plan­ning to break ground i soonK-on­aI­nas­tate­ment, ngi Tuheitia said that M-aori trusts are the new $43 mil­lion head­quar­ters in Mount Maun­ganui. largest New Zealand share­holder group in Seeka “and the Seeka’s move from its old of­fices in Te Puke town­ship came com­pany has been a com­mit­ted part­ner of iwi in help­ing our on top of a re­brand­ing last year that saw it re­po­si­tion peo­ple de­velop their re­sources. I am de­lighted to be here to it­self as a pro­duce com­pany, in­clud­ing chang­ing its name demon­strate our on­go­ing en­gage­ment with the re­gion, and from Seeka Ki­wifruit In­dus­tries Ltd to just Seeka. our sup­port for Seeka and what it is do­ing for the ki­wifruit

in­dus­try and for all of us eco­nom­i­cally.”

“This new head­quar­ters al­lows us to bring all of the strands of our busi­ness to­gether and is a great place for us to wel­come our grow­ers,” the com­pany’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Franks said. “We had out­grown our old head of­fice.”

The build­ing – a ki­wifruit-slice-shaped 18-sided (oc­tadecagon)

struc­ture built in 1985 – un­der­went a com­plete over­haul that took more than a year. Seeka said the key changes in­clude cre­at­ing seg­mented of­fice spa­ces for the staff around the out­side perime­ter of the build­ing, each with a view of the coun­try­side, with the largely open plan cen­tral area free for vis­i­tors and meet­ing spa­ces. The new of­fices house 80 staff – up from 60 at the old head­quar­ters – and also in­clude a gym and show­ers, a cafe­te­ria and a 150-seat au­di­to­rium. The gi­ant ki­wifruit slice on the road­side that used to ad­ver­tise the tourist cen­tre is still there, but also got a facelift. Michael Franks said that in the longer term the com­pany would “de­velop this site into a cam­pus for all as­pects of our busi­ness. Given the planned in­dus­trial park just across the road, we would like to see a clus­ter of re­lated busi­nesses here in what has tra­di­tion­ally been the heart­land of ki­wifruit”.

Mean­while, in Mt Maun­ganui, Ze­spri is forging ahead with its pro­posed new head­quar­ters on Maun­ganui Road. The com­pany bought the 8,100 square-me­tre site off the Tau­ranga City Coun­cil in late 2015 for just over $10 mil­lion, and in De­cem­ber last year, the Ze­spri board ap­proved plans for the $43 mil­lion build­ing.

Ze­spri had also grown out of its head­quar­ters – for­mer Mt Maun­ganui coun­cil of­fices built in the 1960s – and moved some of its staff into a tem­po­rary build­ing in 2015. Around 250 peo­ple cur­rently work at the Maun­ganui Road site, but the com­pany ex­pects that to grow to over 400 over the next 10 years. The cur­rent build­ing, as chief ex­ec­u­tive Lain Jager told grow­ers last year “really isn’t suit­able as the home of an in­ter­na­tional brand”.

Speak­ing at one of Ze­spri’s reg­u­lar grower road show meet­ings, Lain Jager out­lined sev­eral op­tions, rang­ing in to­tal cost from $38 mil­lion (with no un­der­ground carpark) to $56 mil­lion for what he de­scribed as a tra­di­tional build­ing in which each staff mem­ber has a des­ig­nated workspace. The $43 mil­lion build­ing set­tled on is for a de­sign that in­cor­po­rates ac­tiv­ity-based work­ing, which pro­vides dif­fer­ent work­ing spa­ces for dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties and uses less space per worker, and a 190-space carpark. Cur­rently Ze­spri has only 58 car parks, which means neigh­bour­ing res­i­den­tial streets are of­ten clogged with ve­hi­cles. The com­pany is also aim­ing for the equiv­a­lent of a 5 Green Star sus­tain­abil­ity rat­ing – the sec­ond to high­est level.

How the build­ing will be fi­nanced is still be­ing fi­nalised at the time of writ­ing, how­ever in a no­tice to grow­ers and share­hold­ers, the com­pany said fund­ing would be through a com­bi­na­tion of debt and in­ter­nal cash flows. The ar­chi­tects are War­ren & Ma­honey, and Hawkins Con­struc­tion has been awarded the con­struc­tion con­tract.

Like Seeka, Ze­spri says it is aim­ing for a build­ing that will be invit­ing to grow­ers and other in­dus­try stake­hold­ers, with room for meet­ings and in­for­mal vis­its. “We feel that there’s a mas­sive ad­van­tage in open­ing up for the whole in­dus­try,” Ze­spri’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Dave Ha­zle­hurst, said. “And I mean all stake­hold­ers – post-har­vest, grow­ers, share­hold­ers, ev­ery­one that’s in­volved in the in­dus­try.”

Asked about whether the com­pany was wor­ried it might at­tract the kind of crit­i­cism Fon­terra faced over its new head­quar­ters in Auck­land, Dave Ha­zle­hurst said that Ze­spri had con­sulted with the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing grow­ers, from the out­set and was “pretty clear and pretty well sup­ported across the board”.

“I’m not go­ing to com­pare with Fon­terra – but you raised Fon­terra. They’re in the mid­dle of Auck­land so that’s slightly dif­fer­ent. Over 80% of our vol­ume comes within an hour’s drive from here, and we went out pretty openly to grow­ers and made it clear on the dif­fer­ent types of build­ing that we could have,” he said.

The project will be car­ried out in stages, with staff mov­ing into a partly com­pleted build­ing by the end of next year. Mean­while, in ad­vance of de­mol­ish­ing part of the old build­ing to al­low site works to get un­der­way, Ze­spri will be hous­ing some staff in al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion across the street.

1. Seeka chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Franks at the open­ing of the new head­quar­ters. (Supplied/Seeka) 2. The slice that used to ad­ver­tise the Kiwi 360 tourist spot has been given a makeover. (Seeka) 3. Kingi Tuheitia and his party are wel­comed onto the site of

8. Ze­spri’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Dave Ha­zle­hurst. 9-10. An im­pres­sion of the new Ze­spri build­ing. 11. A close-up im­pres­sion of the en­try to the new Ze­spri build­ing. Photos supplied by Ze­spri.

From top: Rad­i­cal Dog bis­cuits straight out of the oven at the on farm fac­tory near Oa­maru. John and Mau­reen New­lands with some of the Cher­ryvite prod­ucts they sell.

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