Congratulations to former meat industry leader Stewart Barnett who received a top award in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List recently.
Primary Producers Cooperative Society (PPCS) chief executive Stewart Arthur Barnett became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the Honours List for services to agriculture and business.
The retired businessman who was also a director of Marlborough Seafoods and of Blue River Dairy Ltd has served on a number of industry boards, at both a local and national level, and is a strong supporter of community activities. He has contributed to meat industry policy matters nationally and globally and has been a member of the New Zealand Meat Producers Board and Deer Industry New Zealand and was also a founder member and council member of the Meat Industry Association. He also served on other boards including the New Zealand Lamb Company, the NZ-US Council and biotechnology company Global Technologies Ltd.
Born in Darfield, the straight-talking Barnett started his career as a stock agent for Dalgety in Canterbury in 1960, later joining PPCS as a lamb drafter before working his way up to become chief executive of Dunedin-based PPCS in 1986. Under his stewardship and vision the cooperative grew from a South Island business with a $245 million turnover to a $2 billion company with 24 meat processing plants throughout the company, when he stepped down in 2007. During his tenure, he presided over the company’s purchase of Fortex, Canterbury Frozen Meats (CFM) and Richmond NZ and also the building of its PPCS Brooks business in the UK, which gave the company the flexibility to service its UK retail customers. Many of his decisions helped to shape the New Zealand meat industry of today.
After his retirement from PPCS, the company became known as Silver Fern Farms, which was headed initially by Keith Cooper and today by Dean Hamilton.
Following his meat industry career, Stewart Barnett served as a trustee and chaired the Building Committee for the Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust, which was responsible for overseeing the construction of the rugby stadium now known as Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. Most recently, Barnett has acted as project director on the Rangi Ruru Project – a rebuild of Rangi Ruru Girls’ School after the Christchurch earthquakes. This project was a Gold Medal winner at the NZ Commercial Projects Awards and won an Excellence Award at The Property Council of New Zealand.