Time's ripe to retire, says Mr Cool

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 06/12/2013
Neville Moore and Gary Austin
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ
RETIRED: Neville Moore gets given a push by new Timaru Polarcold Stores manager Gary Austin.

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He has kept his cool in the coolstore for 51 years, even when faced with 900 boxes of rapidly ripening bananas.

And now today, after 51 years of service with Polarcold Stores, Neville Moore retires.

He started working at what was then South Canterbury Co-op Coolstores on December 5, 1962, as one of three storemen, coming straight from school.

The facility was established in 1957 by four different dairy factories after Smithfield freezing works could no longer store dairy products.

Back then there were no forklifts, just bag barrows.

In 1963 he became a supervisor and in 1968 the company purchased its first forklift. It now has 90.b In 1983 he became the works supervisor, the branch manager in 1998 and in 2007 he was promoted to operations and logistics manager.

But at 68 he has decided it's time to retire.

"My wife and I decided in July, when we came back from the Northern Territory, we need a few years of quality time before the wheels fall off one of us. I will miss the people and the day-to-day contact.

"I have worked under five different general managers and seen the change in technology as we have gone into the computer age."

The early days saw forays into a number of different fields, from frozen vegetables and blast freezing of fish for Sanfords to storage of tallow from meat plants.

He remembers the venture into bananas well. Lyttelton had been unable to store the bananas so they were sent to Timaru and Polarcold took them on. It was the middle of winter and with no coolstore available, they were put into a store.

"They only have a 1 [degree] C tolerance. If they go from 12C to 13C they start to ripen and won't stop. There were only so many banana cakes you can make and we had to dump 900 boxes.

"We also got a shipment of oranges. They need enough air circulating around them as the gas they let off is poisonous. Twenty years later the store still smelt of oranges."

There was a short jaunt into fishing, but the vessel purchased wasn't equipped to catch in the water they were fishing.

General manager Kevin Cahill has tried to convince Mr Moore to stay, even offered him a part-time job.

"One of his strengths is he remains calm and has been highly respected by our customers and was at the forefront of Polarcold's investment in dairy storage facilities to keep pace with Clandeboye."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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