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The Produce People Newsletter - April 2015
17 April 2015


The Kiwistart component of the 2015 season is drawing to a close. Seeka had an excellent start and processed its highest volumes over this period for the last five years.The season is structured so that the first part of the season is “first-past the-post” and effectively any fruit that is mature in the period is able to be packed unconstrained. This ensures supply lines to the market are filled as quickly as possible.
We are now in the next phase whereby our volumes are allocated according to market share by variety as the industry waits for the fruit to achieve full mainpack maturity. In the “fi rst-past-the-post” period, Seeka packed well above market share. In Gold 3, Seeka packed 1.062m trays, or 19% of the industry, compared to our market share of approximately 13%. For Hayward Seeka packed 2.794m trays, or 29% of the industry, compared to our market share of 23%. Packing above market share means the fruit is loaded out faster and Seeka achieves better coolstore utilisation and turn-over. Importantly, it also means that our supplying growers achieve a higher proportion of early-season premiums.
The harvest has also concentrated on our other varieties. The company has packed 76k trays of Hayward organic, 63k trays of G14, 72k trays of Hort16A and 16k trays of Gold 3 organic. It’s a lot for our inventory managers, coolstore and shipping staff to get their heads around and keep under control. It is a very good result to date and our people and contractors have worked together excellently to deliver our results.
The pressure is about to come on as the season heads to mainpack. The season will now rely on the capacity plans that were professionally put together late last year and have undergone regular revision. These plans ensure that Seeka has the capacity to handle the crop for our growers. This is particularly relevant as the volumes look to be increasing due to excellent quality and yield.
It’s really important that we concentrate on safety now. There has been a significant injury in the packhouse where a line manager got their hand caught in a belt and sustained a nasty cut. This accident was avoidable and we must all take steps to ensure our own safety and take action to ensure the safety of those around us.
Kind regards


We welcome a number of new staff this month as we build capacity, and we also farewell Janette Revell who is expecting a new addition to her family next month, we wish her well on her new venture of motherhood. We also congratulate Campbell Wood and Alix on the arrival of their new baby daughter Hazel (new granddaughter for Andrew), in the early hours of Friday morning.
Jack Roberts Contractor Compliance Co-ordinator, Head Office
As Contractor Compliance Co-ordinator, Jack ensures all Seeka contractors meet the health and safety and immigration standards. Jack has recently completed a Bachelor of Communications at the University of Waikato. Throughout his university studies, Jack was involved in managing family kiwifruit orchards in the Bay of Plenty. Jack is looking forward to meeting new people and gaining a sound understanding of the kiwifruit industry.
Susan Burton Assistant Accountant - Grower Entities, Head Office
As the Assistant Accountant for Grower Entities, Susan (Sue) will be working alongside Geoff Carey. Prior to joining Seeka, Sue held an office manager’s position at Iceland Drilling NZ. She is looking forward to getting to meet new people within the company and gaining a better understanding of the industry. Sue has a big family, including seven children, whom are spread around the world. Susan and her husband love to travel, and last year they visited Sydney, Manila, Kota Kinabalu and Chiang Mai.
Samantha Mansell - Assistant Quality Manager, Huka Pak
As the Assistant Quality Manager based at Seeka Huka Pak, Samantha will be supporting and assisting the quality team on the packhouse floor. Previously, Samantha worked at EastPack as a line quality manager. Samantha is looking forward to sharing and expanding her current knowledge of the kiwifruit industry at Seeka.
Tiare Tereapii Storeman - Glassfields Mt Wellington
Tiare is one of two fresh market storemen at Glassfields’ Mount Wellington site. Tiare is responsible for sorting and storing product and picking orders for customers to collect on a day-to-day basis. Previously, Tiare was employed by Tegal New Zealand where he worked
in a similar position, preparing chicken orders for customers. Tiare is looking forward to developing in his role at Seeka Glassfi elds and facing new challenges.


Seeka would like to welcome all RSEs from the Pacific and Asia who are joining our team for the 2015 kiwifruit season. We have people coming from the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa and Malaysia. Following the destruction wreaked by cyclone Pam, Seeka is offering financial assistance to people from the island of Nguna, Vanuatu, so they could join us this year. We are also currently working with these RSEs to arrange donations towards a container of goods to assist in rebuilding their homes in Vanuatu.
Some of the Solomon Island RSEs working at Oakside and Peninsula packhouses
RSEs in Malaysia during recruitment in February


Many of you probably wouldn’t realise that Verified Lab Services (VLS) is a subsidiary of Seeka. VLS operations include fruit testing, ethylene testing and a microbiological laboratory which undertakes research work and Psa tests. VLS is IANZ accredited for ethylene testing and maturity testing of kiwifruit, kiwiberry and avocados. Currently Tracy and her team at the lab are in full swing testing kiwifruit in preparation for harvest. Not only does VLS test fruit prior to harvest, the lab also runs fruit tests and trials after harvest.
Throughout the kiwifruit harvest, Kathleen and Doris supervise the lab until the early hours, ensuring a quick turn around and posting of results. The team at VLS keep busy throughout the year with different tests and trials. Ethylene testing enables coolstores to monitor ethylene levels and to take action to prevent ethylene build-up which can cause fruit to prematurely ripen. Additionally, prior to harvest, VLS provides a pest monitoring service for kiwifruit, kiwiberry and avocado orchards. This means growers can manage the pest levels on the orchard and apply sprays accordingly.
VLS supervisors Doris Coates and Kathleen Finlay


MOREFM challenged everyone to climb the Mount 38 times in 50 days (equivalent to the height of Mount Everest) to help raise funds for the Mount Maunganui, Omanu and Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Clubs. Seeka tackled the challenge and entered both a team and individual participants. The Seeka VLS team of Dana Wheeler, Kathleen Finlay, Heather Spencer and Shalinee Dowlut completed the challenge with no sweat! (Kathleen completed 40 climbs in 50 days). Damon Bowles, Jason Swain and Stephanie Kivell completed the challenge individually, which for some, resulted in multiple climbs in the last few days. Needless to say, everyone was pleased when they completed the 38th and fi nal climb. In total Seeka raised $699 for the Surf Lifesaving Clubs. Congratulations to everyone who completed the Mount Everest challenge on behalf of Seeka. Thank you to the Seeka Social Club who sponsored sports shirts for each participant.
If you aren’t a Seeka Social Club member, and would like to enjoy the benefits of the club, please call Sandy at Head Office or email [email protected].
Kathleen Finlay on her 38th and final walk to the summit


As you are all well aware, it is once again harvest season and our busiest time on the orchard and in the packhouse. Please ensure that you are meeting the health and safety expectations prior to visiting packhouses and orchards. Please follow the guidelines below.
When visiting the orchard all staff must wear high visibility vests and sign in to the on-orchard register as a visitor (remember to sign out on departure). The on-orchard register will be attached to the orchard safety board in the loading bay or at the orchard entrance. This is an important health and safety requirement in the event of an emergency.
If you visit a packhouse, and it is not your normal place of work, please sign-in at the packhouse reception (sign-out at departure). The reason for requesting you to sign-in and out is so that during an emergency evacuation, you can be accounted for. When signing in, you will notice an area where you are asked to enter your Seeka ID card (SKID card) number. If you do not have a SKID card, please contact Jack Roberts 027-455-1732 (Head Office) or Darcy Thwaites 027-972-0835 (Huka Pak) – they can issue you a card on request. In order to get a SKID card it is important to first complete the Seeka general orchard and the staff packhouse . These s can be completed online and they will provide education on the health and safety requirements when visiting these areas.
If you require a login to the system, please contact Darcy Thwaites [email protected]


Seeka Key