Matamata's Business Community
Matamata - Nothing But Success
Big enough to have all the facilities a thriving business centre needs, Matamata is still small enough to offer a community atmosphere and personal service. In the heart of the Waikato, 45 minutes from three major cities, Matamata businesses work together, supporting each other and the community, striving for excellence. Farming and industrial businesses operate side-by-side, served by a lively retail and financial sector. The town enjoys the support of the business-friendly Matamata-Piako District Council and a pro-active and entrepreneurial business association. A highly skilled labour force serves the town’s strong engineering and construction industry, while easy access by road and rail connects the town to international markets via two of New Zealand’s busiest ports.
Nestled at the base of the beautiful Kaimai Ranges, the town is surrounded by rich, fertile land ideal for dairy farming, horticulture, and the thoroughbred racing industry. Since 2002 the town has promoted itself as Hobbiton and developed an active tourism market attracting more than 300,000 domestic and international travelers each year. Travelers and residents alike have access to the very best of New Zealand’s rural lifestyle and can choose from a range of activities, accommodation and dining options. Approximately half of the area’s 12,000 people live in the town itself, half in the surrounding rural area.
Matamata is the ideal location for your new business.
They say success breed’s success and that has definitely been the case with engineering and manufacturing in Matamata. Some of New Zealand’s leading engineering, construction and contracting firms have been operating out of Matamata for over 80 years. They are supported by a skilled labour source and strong base of engineering supply services. Here are just a few examples of Matamata’s Engineering success.
In 1934 Matamata entrepreneur Joe Swap began supplying hand-dug river shingle to farmers around the district. Today, J. Swap Contractors Limited is one of the largest privately owned contracting companies in New Zealand. The business now employs 250 people, owns 11 quarries and has interests across New Zealand in civil engineering contracting, agricultural contracting, bulk transport and heavy haulage, plant hire and bulk storage and stock food. The company’s 2005 annual turnover of $60 million is predicted to climb to $100 million by 2007. Managing director David Swap said Matamata was an ideal storage location for his business. It offers the first flat ground inland from Tauranga and is easily accessible by road and rail. “We would never leave. We were born and bred here. Sixty percent of our business is agriculturally based so Matamata is a very strategic location for us.”
"We would never leave. We were born and bred here. Sixty percent of our business is agriculturally based so Matamata is a very strategic location for us."
- David Swap, J Swap
Tom Stanley established a construction business in Matamata in 1927. Stanley Construction is now one of the leading players in New Zealand’s construction industry, employing 77 people. The company has established a niche for itself in design and build, industrial and commercial, shop fitting and retail projects, and alpine and remote location work nationwide. Their 2004 $30 million annual turnover is projected to climb to $85 million by 2009. CEO Kevin Stanley said Matamata was still the ideal location for Stanley Construction because it offers a skilled labour force and is central to three major markets. “Just 45 minutes from Tauranga, Rotorua and Hamilton, we are in a prime spot to be able to work in all those areas.”
"Just 45 minutes from Tauranga, Rotorua, and Hamilton we are in a prime spot to be able to work in those areas."
- Kevin Stanley, Stanley Construction
Tidco International was established in Matamata in 1990 to manufacture quarry, mining and environmental equipment for the New Zealand and international markets. Now operating under the name Rocktec, is a manufacturing specialist,who export innovative, industrial equipment all over the world, from their Matamata base. “.
At the other end of the scale, Peter Thissen from The Bolt Holder manufactures and imports bolts, nuts, screws and fastenings in all shapes and sizes. While The Bolt Holder’s biggest client is Matamata firm Metso Minerals, they have been supplying engineering firms around New Zealand and the Waikato for 23 years and now employ 14 staff.
Matamata has over 100 years of proud farming history. In the heart of the Waikato, the temperate, drought-free climate guarantees soil quality and grass growth, ensuring low-cost farming and high returns. The rich, fertile soil and mix of flat and undulating land, are ideally suited to the dairy farming, equine and horticulture industries, which flourish in the district.
Matamata is a world renowned thoroughbred racing hub and home to many studs including Waikato Stud, Rich Hill and Mapplery. The town’s all-weather training track and comprehensive swimming pool facilities are used by many world class trainers including the O’Sullivan and Moroney families, Mark Walker and Jim Gibbs. The thoroughbred racing industry employs around 200 people in the Matamata area, caring for and training up to 700 horses in any given month. Racing is a significant industry in the district, attracting money from many out of town owners, paying for the care and training of their horses.
Raising land prices and urban sprawl south of Auckland have moved horticulture into the Matamata area. Asparagus, potatoes, onions, lucerne and maize are among the crops, which thrive in the flat areas immediately surrounding the town.
In 2004 dairy farming, dairy manufacturing, meat processing and other farming were among the five most valuable sectors in the Matamata-Piako District economy.
“Matamata’s free draining soils allow them to harvest over winter with ease.”
- Mike Taylor
"Matamata is ideal horse rearing country. With free draining limestone soils and a god mix of flat and undulating hills it’s the Kentucky of the southern hemisphere."
- Denis Ryan, Racing Journalist
OPEN COUNTRY CHEESE
Following the deregulation of the dairy industry in 2001 The Open Country Cheese Company began construction on a $25 million cheese factory in Waharoa (five kilometers north of Matamata) in January 2004. In the first season 6,000 tonnes of cheddar, Colby, Gouda, Edam and Havarti cheese was exported direct from Matamata to markets in New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Latin America, the West Indies, Europe and the Middle East. Construction is underway on an $18 million whey processing plant. Turnover is predicted to climb from $18 million in their first year to $100 million by 2010.
CEO Alan Walters said Matamata had been a very successful location for Open Country Cheese. “Most importantly it is in the heart of the most concentrated dairying land in New Zealand. We have easy access to the ports in Tauranga and Auckland and Matamata has all the engineering and service capabilities we require for the on going maintenance of our business and factory.”
"Matamata has all the engineering and service capabilities we require For the ongoing maintenance of our business and factory."
- Alan Walters, Open Country Cheese
A.S WILCOX AND SONS
A.S Wilcox and Sons expanded their Pukekohe cropping business into Matamata in 1984. Attracted by the free draining, sandy loam soil and even climate the company now farms over 2,000 acres of potatoes, onions, maize and lucerne.
“Matamata’s free draining soils allow them to harvest over winter with ease,”
- Mike Taylor, Area Manager, A.S Wilcox and Sons
The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy put Matamata on the tourism map and has helped to make the industry a vital part of the town’s economy. Visitor numbers have grown steadily since the opening of the Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours in December 2002. Two hours south of Auckland, en route to Rotorua, Matamata is the ideal location to rest and refuel. A large number of travelers take up the opportunity every day.
Approximately 300,000 visitors came through in 2005 – 80 per cent of these visitors come from overseas. It is estimated that 25 percent of these people will take the Hobbiton tour, while almost all will stop to have a photo beside the “Welcome to Hobbiton” sign.
For those who are staying longer a variety of accommodation options are available. Business and pleasure travelers can chose from backpacker, camping, motel and luxury bed and breakfast accommodation. Farm and home stay options are also popular with international travelers. Other attractions in the Matamata area include the picturesque Kaimai Ranges and Wairere Falls, Java Lodge horse stud tours and alpaca farm tours. Tandem and solo sky diving lessons are available at the Matamata Aerodrome, while the Opal hot springs provides a great place to relax.
HOBBITON MOVIE SET AND FARM TOURS
Russell Alexander’s farm, just outside Matamata was used in the filming of the smash hit movie Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Rings. In 2002 Rings Scenic Tours began taking tours of movie enthusiasts to the site. That year there were 10,000 visitors. By 2005 this number had jumped to 90,000.
The site has now been expanded to include The Shires Rest, a conference and function centre, used by local business and out of town groups alike. All of the companies profit has been invested back into the company, through the local economy. “Wherever possible we use Matamata suppliers because it’s so much easier to buy locally. Fuel, vehicle maintenance, builders, brochures, electricians…the only thing we source from out of town is keyrings,” Russell said.
“Wherever possible we use Matamata suppliers because it’s so much easier to buy locally. Fuel, vehicle maintenance, builders, brochures, electricians…the only thing we source from out of town is key rings.”
- Russell Alexander Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours
THE TASTE OF SUCCESS - WORKMAN’S CAFE
Syd Workman moved to Matamata and opened Workman’s Café in 1994. Attracted by the fact that Matamata sat alone and serviced a very large area, Syd realised the value of having State Highway 27 running though town. “I thought it was the perfect place for a nice intimate café and bar. I came here with nothing and the town has supported me. Matamata people are very loyal customers. This town is very supportive of itself.”
Eleven years on, and Voted the 2006 Best Café in New Zealand by Café Magazine, Workman’s Café is well known around the Waikato and attracts visitors from all over New Zealand.
"Matamata people are very loyal customers. This town is very supportive of itself.”
- Syd Workman, Workmans Café & Bar
Matamata has a thriving retail and professional sector, supported by an active business association, which is committed to the long-term sustainability of the town. Compact and concentrated, the beautifully landscaped CBD is in keeping with the town’s unique rural flavour. Eighty-three retail businesses offer a variety of shopping options from corporate chain stores, to boutique businesses. Cafés offer street side dining and add to the relaxed atmosphere in the CBD. Takeaway restaurants, fast food, bars and fine dining restaurants offer something for every occasion and every budget. Matamata also has two supermarkets.
Lower than average CBD rents keep operating costs low. Each of New Zealand’s major banks is represented in Matamata and a strong professional community offers a range of business and financial services. As a result, there is no need to leave town for any of your business needs.
Matamata has the facilities to meet the needs of each member of your family and offers the best in New Zealand lifestyle opportunities. A range of excellent rural and urban primary schools, a catholic primary school, an intermediate school and a secondary school, will provide for your family’s education. There are also a number of childcare facilities including kindergartens and a play centre. A busy medical centre offers GP, physiotherapy, x-ray and laboratory services, while a trust-operated hospital provides maternity and hospital level aged-care, transitional care, and day surgery services. Matamata has three rest homes and the only specialist dementia care unit in the Eastern Waikato.
Sport is a very important part of life in Matamata. From rugby and netball to tennis and croquet you will find a club of like-minded people. Matamata is home to the country’s most successful inland fishing club. There are four golf courses within 20km of the town and a world-renowned gliding club operates from the Matamata aerodrome.
The arts are also an important part of life in Matamata. A sculpture symposium is held annually, while musical and dramatic theatre groups perform throughout the year. Every major service club is active in the town, and there is a church of every major denomination.
Matamata’s recreational facilities include an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, sports centre, two purpose built community theatres and a modern comprehensive library. The town’s information centre and two local newspapers keep the community informed about upcoming events and the news and views of the people. Located in the central North Island Matamata is just a short commute to three major cities. It is also two hours from the Coromandel beaches and inland lakes, which provide the ideal summer playground.