Alliance Group to mark Pukeuri plant centenary

Leading meat processor and exporter Alliance Group is to mark the centenary of its Pukeuri Plant near Oamaru with a series of activities over the coming months.

Among the events planned are a centenary dinner for invited guests at Loan & Merc Tavern and Eating House in Oamaru on 1 March,  the unveiling of a commemorative plaque on the plant’s gates on 5 March and a six-month historic exhibition at North Otago Museum, beginning on 1 March.

Author Jacquie Webby, a former reporter with the Oamaru Mail, is also publishing a book on the history of the plant.

The Pukeuri Plant first began operating in 1914 and is now the co-operative’s second largest processing facility in New Zealand.  The plant processes more than 10,500 sheep and lambs a day and employs more than 900 staff.

Kerry Stevens, general manager of processing at Alliance Group, says: “The Pukeuri Plant’s centenary marks a major milestone not only for Alliance Group, but also Oamaru and the wider North Otago region. Meat processing has played a key part in North Otago’s and  New Zealand’s economic and social history. The plant is the largest employer in the North Otago area and we are looking forward to celebrating this significant achievement with staff, suppliers and the community.”

North Otago figured prominently in the early beginnings of New Zealand’s export industry. The first shipment of frozen meat to London — 4,900 sheepmeat carcases – were slaughtered at facilities at Totara (south of Oamaru) in February 1882.

Since then, Pukeuri has evolved to become one of the country’s leading meat processing plants. It incorporates modern processing technology, the highest levels of hygiene, food safety and environmental standards.  It is estimated the plant injects around $100 million into the local economy every year.

Alliance supplied material.

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