April 29, 2022
Squirt of lemon on Takitimu Seafoods
Takitimu Seafoods chair Ngahiwi Tomoana says Ngāti Kahungunu’s 30-year dream of reentering the fishing industry has taken a hit – and he’s ready to pay the price for buying a lemon.
Mr Tomoana this week announced the company was being pared down to just 25 staff, and its Hastings retail shop would close.
This follows a $6 million loss last year.
He says the company was profitable when the assets were bought from Hawke’s Bay Fisheries, but Covid shut down its major export and domestic markets overnight and exposed weaknesses in the business, such as the lack of freezer and storage capacity.
“It was a five year study before we actually pulled the trigger to buy it. What we didn’t realise is that volumes of fish did not equate to volumes of profit. Doing some forensic examination when you’re in the business is like looking at your car while it’s running to see where that tapping noise was coming from, that’s what we were forced to do,” Mr Tomoana says.
The company has established a process to find jobs for the 45 workers who will be made redundant, but he’s getting calls from business partners and taiwhenua who want to be first in line to hire them.