22 Jul 2012

Westland marks 75th year as cooperative

7:01 am on 22 July 2012

New Zealand's second oldest surviving dairy co-operative - Westland Milk Products - is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

It was formed in 1937 from the merger of three West Coast milk processing companies.

Westland Milk Products is now the country's third largest dairy processor after Fonterra and Open Country Dairy and has expanded its milk supply base into Canterbury.

An important exporter, the cooperative is sending about 90% of its products overseas, focusing on Asian-Pacific markets.

Westland chief executive Rod Quin says the co-op's origins go back about 150 years, with the development of dairy farming on the West Coast .

Mr Quinn says Westland Milk Products opted for an independent pathway when it stayed outside the merger process that created Fonterra in 2001.

The jubilee was marked with a gala dinner for 650 guests and an open day at it's Hokitika factory.

Waikato co-operative Tatua, formed in 1914, is the oldest independent dairy company.