The Alliance Group is to mark the centenary of its Pukeuri plant near Oamaru with a series of activities over the coming months.
Among the events planned are a centenary dinner for invited guests at Loan & Merc Tavern and Eating House in Oamaru on March 1; the unveiling of a commemorative plaque on the plant's gates on March 5 and a six-month historic exhibition at North Otago Museum, starting on March 1.
Author Jacquie Webby, a former reporter with the Oamaru Mail, is also publishing a book on the history of the plant.
The Pukeuri plant started in 1914 and is now Alliance's second-largest processing facility in New Zealand.
The plant processes more than 10,500 sheep and lambs a day and employs more than 900 staff.
Alliance Group general manager processing Kerry Stevens said the centenary marks a major milestone not only for the Alliance Group, but also for Oamaru and for the wider North Otago region.
"Meat processing has played a key part in North Otago's and New Zealand's economic and social history.
"The plant is the largest employer in the North Otago area and we are looking forward to celebrating this significant achievement with staff, suppliers and the community," Mr Stevens said.
North Otago featured prominently in the early beginnings of New Zealand's export industry.
The first shipment of frozen meat to London - 4900 sheepmeat carcasses - were slaughtered at facilities at Totara, south of Oamaru, in February 1882.
Since then Pukeuri has evolved to become one of the country's leading meat processing plants.
It incorporates modern processing technology, the highest levels of hygiene, food safety and environmental standards.
It is estimated the plant injects about $100 million into the local economy every year.
- The Southland Times