“I started my apprenticeship in 2011 at New World Taumarunui after four years in in the freezing works at Te Kuiti. I am still thoroughly enjoying the trade. I’m really looking forward to competing in Ireland. It is such an amazing outcome, all from entering into the Alto and Competenz butchery competitions! I highly recommend that other apprentices and butchers give it a shot, it’s inspirational to see what else goes on with other apprentices and butchers at these competitions, and after that you might just win the experience of a lifetime.”
Luka Young, New World Eastridge, Auckland
Winner of the 2014 Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year
Finalist in the 2017 Alto Butcher of the Year and being at the right age, scored the highest marks in the practical cutting test, which saw him selected to represent New Zealand in the World Champion Young Butcher competition.
"I've been working as a butcher since finishing school and now complete regularly at butchery competitions and from what I've seen the level of talent coming through the industry gets better every year"
Samantha Weller, New World Rangiora
Winner of the 2017 Competenz Apprentice Butcher of the Year
“I’d tell anyone looking into the apprenticeship that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. So I’d recommend it to anyone with a genuine interest. Breaking down the carcases and creating cuts is one of my favourite things, but I also like making sausages. Last year my pork and fennel sausage won gold in the Devro Great New Zealand Sausage Competition. I’ve just started boning out beef – that’s my favourite.”
Ben Henry, New World Thorndon, Wellington
Winner of the 2016 Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year
Finalist in the 2017 Alto Butcher of the Year and now having completed his apprenticeship, Ben represented New Zealand in the World Champion Young Butcher competition.
"Being able to show the industry and myself what is possible. I love seeing what other people can do and being inspired by other people."
2018: Corey Winder
Corey Winder owns and operates his own shop Elite Meats, Bush Inn in Christchurch. He has been involved in the meat industry from a young age and has been captain of New Zealand’s own butchery team since its inception in 2011. In that time he has captained the New Zealand Pure South Sharp Blacks to three wins and a silver medal at the 2018 World Butchers Challenge. These events have done a lot for the advancement of the trade globally.
Corey has been able to inspire many in the industry not only in his capacity as captain of the Pure South Sharp Blacks but also in his role as a teacher at the Christchurch meat School.
Corey has been a leader in added value and product development and is constantly up-skilling himself and seeking new ways to innovate. This is highlighted by his many awards for his bacon, ham and sausage products.
At the 2018 World Butchers Challenge was selected as a member of the Butchery World Team – chosen as one the six best butchers in the world.
Corey is always available to help others in the industry and is a supporter of Retail meat New Zealand by way of hosting meat clubs and judging regional and national competitions. All these events often take him away from his own business yet Corey willingly gives up his time to provide this support to encourage growth and excellence within the industry.
2017: David Dunningham
David Dunningham has a long standing contribution to our industry through DM Dunninghams Ltd. For over 96 years Dunninghams have provided huge support to New Zealand butchers and
apprentices and in particular to Retail Meat New Zealand. They have invested in the next generation of butchers through the establishment of the Outward Bound Scholarship and have been a key supporter of the Alto Young Butcher & Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year competition including the provision of the machinery for North Island regional competitions and the Grand Final.
David provided and supported opportunities for his staff to attend local and international trade shows and study tours, to ensure they are up to date with the latest trends - information which is in turn shared with Dunninghams' New Zealand customers. There has been a strong focus on new product development including building a test kitchen to enable the development of new products for industry. It is this innovation that has in turn created many successes for NZ small goods manufacturers.
David has always ensured that the industry is well served by Dunninghams by providing on going and readily available product and technical support, and his commitment to his customers has often seen him work 24/7 if required. David encourages and supports a value added approach which has helped butchers grow their businesses and increase profitability. Dunninghams work hard to present NZ products to the world - a long way from the time grinding herbs and spices at the old building at No.1 Hobson St.
2016: Keith Oddy
Keith Oddy was born in Australia but New Zealand has been his home for the past 30 years. Over that time he has owned and operated a number of successful businesses in the meat industry building a high profile well respected business in the North Island. These include retail outlets, a wholesale pork, beef and lamb processing factory, and a thriving small goods company. Keith has employed many hundreds of people, including a large number of apprentices.
Keith established The Aussie Butcher in New Zealand in 1984 and has on a number of occasions been a consultant for some of New Zealand’s major meat wholesalers, offering his extensive knowledge and ideas to help improve, not only the companies he is working alongside but the industry as a whole. The Aussie Butcher franchise is one of the largest retail meat franchises in the country.
Keith is responsible for bringing various new and innovative products to the New Zealand market through his retail stores where you will find an ever changing array of value added products. Keith has demonstrated that a well positioned, well stocked and ranged butchers can operate successfully, offering meal solutions across all types of meat.
Over the years Keith has offered countless hours to mentor Young Butcher and Butcher Apprentice entrants and has offered his time as a judge for both the Young Butcher and Butcher Apprentice competition and the NZ Sausage Competition. Keith is always open to sharing his knowledge and experiences, both professionally and personally to help the next generation learn, develop and grow.
2015: Rod Preston
Rod Preston spent his childhood working in the family owned meat retail business which he, and his brother Scott later went on to purchase. Rod has been an integral part of the growth of the company which consists of three retail outlets, a small goods factory, meat processing plant, wholesale operation and meat trucking company.
In 1991 Rod, together with Keith Taylor initiated the purchase of the defunct Wellington Municipal Abattoir and Taylor Preston was established. Rod has served as the director of the company since it's inception. Rod has been instrumental in the restructure of the family business introducing a professional governance structure and independent chairman. Rod’s innovation in the industry is evident through the renovation and expansion of the retail side of the business along with the diversification into refrigeration and bulk transport for meat and animal products.
In the 1970’s Preston’s opened the first drive in wholesale butchery, selling portion cut vacuum packed meat. Then during the butcher’s strike action in the 1980’s, Rod organised the supply of product to butcheries throughout Wellington. Rod is hugely passionate about the industry and has always been actively involved in the day to day running of his businesses. Rod has supported the apprenticeships of over 50 butchers,many of whom have gone on to manage supermarket butchery departments or own their own stores.
A member of Retail Meat New Zealand for over 30 years, Rod served on the board for a number of years and was President from 1990 – 1992. Rod has willingly shared his passion, skill and trade knowledge with many within the industry. Rod also has an ability to convert obstacles to challenges and applies his extensive knowledge and connections within the industry to make improvements creating precision, efficiencies and extending networks and skills within the industry, from innovative production practices to distribution systems.
2014: Nick Harris
During his time as Managing Director and a Board Member of Hellers Ltd Nick has been instrumental in the innovation of the manufacturing processes. Hellers now have world class manufacturing plants in Auckland and Christchurch. Nick is also Director of the family owned and operated Domett Abattoir and Harris Meats.
Most notable are the countless hours Nick has given in the support and betterment of the industry. As past President of Retail Meat Canterbury and was secretary of the same association for 20 years. Nick served on the Retail Meat board for close to 20 years including a stint as President. During this time he often traveled with the Secretary visiting South Island retailers and Regional Associations.
Nick was heavily involved in the organisation of the Young Butcher and Butcher Apprentice of the Year competitions.
Nick is the longest serving chairperson to sit on the board of the Industry Training Organisation and was on the advisory board at the Christchurch Polytech Institute of Technology. Nick's involvement is on-going as he still acts as Chairman of the Meat Processors Association and the Enterprise North Canterbury Board.
2013: Denis Denton
Denis Denton has helped to shape this industry in more ways than one. From introducing returnable packaging to reduce waste and cost to pioneering the introduction of fresh boxed, vacuum packed beef to the retail market. Denis' innovative but straightforward ideas have been integral to improving the effectiveness of the meat industry. Following in his father’s footsteps Denis began at Borthwicks and during his time there, training was always something he held in high regard. Denis was heavily involved in the Management Cadet Training Scheme and the Works Cadet Training Scheme and many of his protégés have gone on to achieve big things in the meat industry. After Borthwicks, he moved onto Woolworths where he was the National Meat Manager. This is a responsibility he took incredibly seriously, always looking at how he could improve the standard of meat. One key change he instigated was improved Meat Grading Standards and Specifications for Woolworths, and these then flowed into the rest of the market, leading to improved standards across the board. Denis also introduced large scale, centralised processing, implementing mechanically assisted deboning of beef – the first to adopt this technology in New Zealand. Denis was integral to the red meat industry in general, absolutely fundamental to the way red meat was promoted domestically. When domestic consumption was falling and there was a perception all the best meat was exported Denis highlighted that generic promotion was essential, as was a relationship with New Zealand farmers. Hence, he initiated funding from the industry processors, wholesalers and retailers (something not done by any other industry) as well at the Meat Board. Denis then became the first Chairman of the Red Meat Promotion Council, which then became the New Zealand Beef & Lamb Marketing Bureau and is now known as Beef + Lamb New Zealand, working to promote red meat generically to the New Zealand public. In his personal life, he has also worked for years supporting his local community.
Among other achievements, he was on the establishing Board of the NZ Disability Support Network as well as being integral in the Brain Injury Society, which he is the current President of. Denis was also given a “Good Bloke Award” by the Manukau Courier for his ongoing work supporting people with brain injuries at the Stewart Centre in Papatoetoe.
2012: Rod Slater
Rod Slater, fearless, loyal, passionate and unwavering are all words which go some way to describing this industry figurehead. Rod has played a pivotal role in the meat industry and it all started
working at the ground level, as a butcher. It is not only his work but his personal values which make him such a worthy recipient. Respected by his peers, he goes above and beyond to offer advice and help wherever needed. No job is ever too small.
Never afraid of entering controversial territory, he is renowned for his negotiation skills and his ability to talk almost off the cuff and still come across as the source of all knowledge. Rod is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to anyone, be they a butcher, a member of the public, a farmer, or a reporter.
In his personal life, he is Chairman for the YES Disability Trust and a board member for the Maritime Museum. Rod was a rugby league referee for many years, manager of the NZ sailing team at the 1996 Olympics and is still involved in the local Murrays Bay sailing club. A past president of the Auckland Master Butchers and Retail Meat New Zealand, as well as being a life member, it is impossible to put a value on his contribution to the industry.
After years in partnership with Sir Peter Leitch, establishing the Mad Butcher, his first involvement with Beef + Lamb New Zealand began when he, along with others in the industry lobbied for the development of the New Zealand Beef & Lamb Marketing Bureau in 1981. Rod then became further involved with Beef + Lamb New Zealand in 1994 when he took on the reins as CEO.
For almost 20 years now he has been the spearhead in the organisation, overseeing its recovery and guiding it to the strong position Beef + Lamb now holds in the industry.
The development of the Quality Mark, a guiding mark in the improvement of tenderness standards, and the Iron Maidens marketing campaigns are but two standouts of the many projects he has been instrumental in.However, probably his single largest contribution has been the way in which he has held together an organisation which is funded on an entirely voluntary basis, for the greater good of the industry.
2011: Todd Heller
Todd Heller continued the long line of butchers by opening his first butchery in New Brighton, Christchurch, in 1985. Inspired by his travels and the cooking styles of different cultures, Todd began offering greater variety and new flavours very little of which were available at the time. Todd's customers responded well. Todd Heller Meats started supplying supermarkets, outgrew the old factory, moved to a new plant at Kaiapoi and began supplying throughout the South Island. In the mid-late 80's Todd ran numerous seminars for butchers in New Zealand.
The company continued to flourish and after merging with Tasty Bacon became Heller Tasty Limited in 1993. In 1998 Todd bought Peach Products off Hellabys, in 2000 bought Wilson small goods and in 2001 bought Sensational small goods. The purchase of Vienna Sensational Foods then gave the company national distribution and in 2002, Heller's Sensational London Pride sausage was judged New Zealand's best. With over 300 staff the company can produce up to 240 tonnes of sausages in 80 different varieties a week along with bacon, ham and other service deli small goods, all under the Heller, Sensational, Peach and Ryan brands. Todd is responsible for the introduction of sausages in supermarkets and the quality of sausages today.
In his personal life Todd has been involved as a Rotarian.
Todd is a life member of Canterbury Meat Retailers and is a member of Retail Meat New Zealand and has served on the board for a number of years including the President role. Todd has helped run a lot of butcher conferences in Christchurch and Heller Tasty is now the largest sausage manufacture in New Zealand a great success story from humble beginnings of making sausages in the back of his butchery.
2010: Sir Peter Leitch
Sir Peter Leitch has worked steadfastly to secure, advance and promote the domestic meat industry in New Zealand Sir Peter has been a butcher all his working life. Right from the early days, Sir Peter was involved and participated in industry good activities. For a number of years he was a Director of the Auckland Master Butchers Association and also supported Rod Slater (his business partner) throughout Rod's time of involvement with the national body. Sir Peter’s high profile through his talk back style radio announcements has without doubt advanced the image of butchers and the retail meat industry in consumers’ minds.
Sir Peter has been a role model for many looking to enter the butchery trade. Sir Peter's company, Rodpet Enterprises was the first to employ a female apprentice who later went on to own two stores of her own. Further, he has enabled in excess of 30 people to own their own businesses.
Sir Peter set new standards as he developed his own personal style of promotion. Sir Peter was the first person in New Zealand to use talk back radio live and be the face of his own business. This is now a common promotional tool. Through this, Sir Peter has made the meat retailing industry fun and exciting.
Sir Peter was not only was dedicated to his business, working in excess of 100 hours per week, he also worked hard at helping various charities and sports clubs. Quite simply, he has changed the image of butchers and meat retailers in this country forever.This dedication to his trade and the community has seen him awarded for services to business and the community:
1991 The Queens Service Medal (QSM)
2010 Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM)
2010 Appointed to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame