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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

The Okitu Co-operative Dairy Co. Ltd

The Okitu Co-operative Dairy Co. Ltd.

In November, 1901, W. Douglas Lysnar placed three herds of cows on Makarori, built a butter factory and a bacon factory at Okitu, and page 329 engaged T. D. Bathgate, of Taieri, as buttermaker. Both factories were destroyed by fire in 1904. A new butter factory, which Mr. Lysnar built in Gisborne, was taken over in October, 1930, by the Okitu Co-operative Dairy Co. Ltd. This company began operations under the handicaps of a small output (80 tons per annum) and an out-of-date plant. By 1936–37 the output had grown to 500 tons per annum. When the State plan for zoning supplies of cream to factories came into force, however, the output fell by half. In 1942 a start was made to develop an important new branch of business—the pasteurisation of milk. At the outset the milk so treated went mainly to schools. By 1947 2,000 gallons of milk were being pasteurised daily, providing, in addition to the needs of the schools, sufficient to supply 98 per cent, of the residents of Gisborne. A plant capable of treating 1,000 gallons per hour was then installed. In addition, the butter output in 1946–47 was 190 tons. Between 1938–39 and 1946–47 the company's turnover rose from £34,000 to £96,000.

Chairmen: E. R. Renner, 1930–38; E. H. Baker, 1938—. Managers: T. D. Bathgate, A. R. Valder, P. A. Armstrong, A. McKenzie, W. McDonald, L. Julian and G. Forbes (1925—). Secretaries: Under Mr. Lysnar's regime, C. J. Hamilton (1901–16); Phil. Hamilton (1916–30); under the company: P. Hamilton (1930—).