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milking IT... Dynamic Māori owned dairy company strides ahead STORY DEE WILSON

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small, dynamic milk powder processing operation at Mokai, west of Taupō, formed by a unique alliance of Māori trusts and incorporations is proving a force to be reckoned with. Miraka – Māori for milk – is the result of a vision shared by a group of Māori trusts and incorporations with land and dairy holdings in the central plateau looking to add value to their farming enterprises beyond the farm gate. Since starting milk powder manufacturing three years ago, Miraka has gone from strength to strength, meeting and surpassing all of its targets and expanding its export base around Asia. The company’s state-of-the-art $90 million dollar milk powder factory (WMP) on nine hectares of land at Mokai has been operating at capacity for the past two seasons producing 35,000 tonnes of milk powder for overseas markets with committed overseas orders for all of its product. A supply contract signed with Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin in February 2013 to produce 250ml Ultra Heat Treatment (UHT) milk packs for the Chinese market has also seen expansion plans brought forward.

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The new $25 million UHT facility on the Mokai site adjacent to the milk powder factory is due to swing into production in February 2014 – marking the company’s first foray into the production of retail long life milk products. The new factory has been fully funded by Miraka shareholders. “We have established our core business on whole milk powder and are now looking to add more value to the milk we collect,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Wyeth says. While commercial success and production of a top quality product for the world market are a given, the commitment to whanau (family) and environmental values have also won Miraka accolades. The two major shareholders in the venture are the Tuaropaki Trust, which owns the land where the plant is sited, and Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, which runs around 10,000 dairy cows on land at Pouakani near Mangakino. Other shareholder suppliers include Waipapa 9 Trust, Hauhungaroa Partnership, Tauhara Moana Trust and Huiarau Farms. Strategic partners and investors include Te Tumu Paeroa,Te Awahohonu Forest Trust Limited, Global Dairy Network and leading Vietnamese milk and dairy manufacturing company

....combining forces to process our own milk will give us better long term returns... KINGI SMILER

Vinamilk. Miraka runs a tight ship. A team of four executives – headed by Richard Wyeth – and three administrative staff work out of offices in Taupō. At the Mokai site, commissioning of the new UHT facility will see the number of factory staff increase from around 28 to 71 – working around the clock. As a small enterprise in a competitive market, a key strength for Miraka has been its ability to secure a solid base of milk suppliers. Since start-up the number of suppliers has almost doubled taking the total number to 95 – attracted by guaranteed competitive returns and the fact they are not required to take up shares in the company. The company has also taken over management of its port warehouse facility in Tauranga, where it employs three staff. While Miraka has forged ahead commercially, it remains committed to the core values that are a cornerstone of operations.

GO Magazine (Great Opportunities) Nov 2013  

Great Opportunities is an annual Business & Lifestyle magazine that profiles why Taupo is a great place to live, work and play.

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