Speeches were made, songs were sung, a cake was cut and a commemorative board was unveiled yesterday to mark 100 years since seven men formed the Tatua Dairy Co-Operative on June 16, 1914.
Those men dreamed of controlling their future and building a better life for them and their families, Tatua's general manager of sales and marketing, John Powell, said.
"One hundred years on, that dream still burns strongly in all our hearts."
It would be hard to imagine what those men would think if they saw the company today with its 390 staff and shareholders, chairman Stephen Allen said.
"I believe our founders would be immensely proud and in awe of the people, the generations of families who have so selflessly contributed to Tatua for these past 100 years."
Tatua has had visionary leaders that took on the challenge because they cared and made very good decisions, Allen said.
"There may well be courage and a leap of faith required, but more importantly, we have and must always do our homework, apply good old-fashioned common sense, and back our people to make things happen."
The Morrinsville-based company's success would only continue on the trust and respect that existed between its staff and shareholders, Allen said.
Chief executive Paul McGilvary said Tatua's success was its people.
"People who are prepared to take risks, to capture new opportunities, but who always do their homework before they leap."
They got the basics right, did not get distracted and always went further for their customers.
Building the future of specialised dairy was their vision, he said.
The company was on a journey to add further value to the milk of its shareholders.
"In fact, we want to add more value to that milk than any of our competitors either in New Zealand or overseas."
David Wilton, whose grandfather Herbert was an original supplier to the co-operative, said the centenary was a huge day and he was very proud.
The co-operative was small and its staff and board members were always accessible to the shareholders.
"It's a family," he said.
His wife Norma said its small size meant it was easy for farmers to communicate with the factory.
Allan Townsend, who has supplied Tatua since 1954, described the co-operative as a "great little dairy company".
"It's not too little now," he said.
Tatua's directors have had to make big decisions over the years, but Townsend had always thought those decisions were the right ones.
"The position the company is in today is because of those earlier decisions and forward thinking."
The success of the company ensured the survival of the Tatuanui district and given it a more worldly identity.
"That is something we, all of us here, can be proud of."
- Waikato Times