Photo: Takitimu Seafoods Facebook.
Takitimu Seafoods chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana says Ngāti Kahungunu’s 30-year dream of re-entering the fishing industry has taken a hit – and he is willing to pay the price to buy a lemon.
Mr Tomoana announced this week that the business had been reduced to just 25 employees and that its retail store in Hastings would close.
This follows a loss of $6 million last year.
He says the company was profitable when the assets were bought from Hawke’s Bay Fisheries, but Covid shut down its main export and domestic markets overnight and exposed weaknesses in the business, such as lack of capacity. freezing and storage.
“It was a five-year study before we pulled the trigger to buy it. What we didn’t realize was that the fish volumes didn’t match the profit volumes. Make a Forensic examination when you’re in the business is like looking at your running car to see where that rattling noise was coming from, which is what we were forced to do,” says Tomoana.
The company has a process in place to find jobs for the 45 workers who will be laid off, but it is getting calls from business partners and taiwhenua wanting to be the first to hire them.