Attracting sufficient skilled staff to a small town in southern New Zealand was assessed by as one of the bigger potential risks in establishing Mataura Valley Milk’s new plant near Gore. However with most of the plant’s 65 positions now filled, the opposite has proven true, general manager Bernard May says.
Mataura Valley Milk has attracted leading nutritionals industry talent to Gore as part of its $240 million partnership with New Zealand investors and farmer shareholders to produce premium infant formulas for the world’s most discerning markets.
Bernard says that the nature of the business – manufacturing premium nutritional formulas – involved recruiting “highly qualified and technically experienced” staff.
However he says that any perceived reluctance for people with specialised skills to move to Gore and Southland “turned out not to be the case at all”, because people could see the opportunities available to them.
“These people could choose to work anywhere in the world but are choosing to take up the opportunity to be part of developing the world’s best nutrition business right here in Gore,” Bernard says.”
“We’ve attracted people from Auckland who are sick of being on the motorway. “They can come to Southland and have a nice house and all the amenities.
It’s a great place to live.” Technical manager Matt Steven moved south from Canterbury with his wife, Jo, who has taken up a quality technologist role with the company.
Steven, who has a PhD in Food Science, worked for Nestle in Switzerland for a decade, and has spent the past two years with Synlait in Canterbury.
The couple love their outdoor activities, including whitewater canoeing, skiing, tramping and mountain-biking. “Anyone who has spent any time in Gore absolutely loves it
“It’s easy to get around, you can have a great lifestyle, and you’re not always stuck in the car,” Matt says. Technical officer Susan Wang, who has a double PhD in molecular biology and veterinary science, also jumped at the opportunity to live and work in Gore.
Hailing from Beijing, Susan is living on a farm near Gore with a local farming couple and their dog, Fred. “I’m passionate about animals and have always felt a real connection to them.”
She is enjoying the Kiwi lifestyle and is slowly exploring Southland, including a trip around the Southern Scenic Route, and intends to visit as much of New Zealand as she can.
Susan said she hoped to contribute to the continued growth of knowledge in the nutritionals industry in New Zealand.
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