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Graeme Eric Selby Lowe QSM, CNZM (1934-2012)
Graeme's contribution to the meat industry in New Zealand and philanthropy in Hawke's Bay was matched by his tireless energy and innovation in his business life.
He began his legendary rise in the meat industry in 1964, purchasing Dawn Meat Limited in Hastings, with two partners. Graeme's rich combination of imagination, practicality, entrepreneurial flair and relentless energy, saw him develop this small beginning into a thriving chain of meat plants throughout New Zealand.
Graeme was a leader in the meat industry for many years, being the driving force behind many processing and technological innovations.
After selling his meat-related assets in 1998, Graeme continued to operate companies associated with the meat industry.
Graeme has generously supported many Hawke's Bay organisations, including the Rescue Helicopter service and McLean Park's Graeme Lowe Stand.
In 2012 Graeme was inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.
The journey begins with Dawn Meats
Founder Graeme Lowe purchased Dawn Meats, consisting of; two butcher shops, a small meat processing and bacon company and an export license.
Dawn Meat Directors 1964: Cedric Jones, Jack Alison, Harvey Alison, Graeme Lowe and Ray Davis
Hastings A & P Show
Dawn Meat butchery shop, Hastings
Hastings A & P show
Dawn begins exporting beef around the world.
Purchase of T.H Walker & sons in Hawera
Dawn purchases the T.H Walker & Sons plant in Hawera and converts to a beef operation.
Beef processing for export begins.
TH Walker originals: Les walker, Jack Hurrell, Jock Richards, Barry Giltrap and Graeme Lowe
Pacific Beef Plant opens in Hastings
Dawn Meat partners with Richmond's and builds Pacific Freezing Ltd in Hastings.
Cliff Brannigan, Roger Scott and Graeme Lowe
New design in slaughter plants
Pacific Beef was designed to be both efficient and effective. Most slaughter plants at this time were multi storied and heavily engineered.
Pacific Beef was the first of its kind - it was a single storied structure and utilized lighter construction materials such as polystyrene panelling.
Business Executive of the Year
Graeme Lowe was named Business Executive of the Year.
Low temperature rendering
Graham Lowe pioneered Low Temperature Rendering in New Zealand, resulting in efficiencies and significant savings.
Hawera Beef Plant
Pacific Beef Hastings
Oringi Lamb Plant opens
Oringi Lamb Plant opens in Dannevirke.
The first slaughter and processing plant built in the deregulated meat industry.
Prime Minister Robert Muldoon at the Oringi opening
Graeme Lowe addresses the 700 guests at the opening
Lowe sells Dawn Meats & establishes Lowe Walker
Dawn Meats is sold to Richmond's as part of an industry consolidation in the central North Island.
Graeme Lowe establishes a new company called Lowe Walker. This consists of the existing Hawera plant and a small plant in Paeroa.
Hawera beef plant
New Plant built in Paeroa
Innovative work at Hawera led to the development and manufacture of an electrical stunning box designed primarily for Halal.
It was then introduced into all of the Lowe Walker plants. Subsequent to this, it was patented and sold around the world.
Hawera Beef Plant
Pacific Beef Hastings
New plant built in Paeroa
Lowe Walker designs and builds the first slaughter and hot boning plant in New Zealand.
The Paeroa plant was the first licensed hot boning plant in the EEC. A process that would go on to save the NZ meat industry hundreds of millions of dollars.
The pioneering of hot boning at Paeroa led to it becoming the first ever EEC licensed hot boning plant in the world.
Hawera Beef Plant
Te Aroha 1988
Purchased & rebuilt Te Aroha Beef Plant
Lowe Walker purchases the local Piako meat works in Te Aroha and transformed the plant into a high tech slaughter and hot boning plant.
Dargaville Beef Plant opened
Lowe Walker builds another high tech slaughter and hot boning plant which utilised innovative freezing technology - reducing the time to freeze down product significantly.
The plant was built in 120 days.
Exit the meat industry to focus on animal by-products and forms Lowe Corporation
Lowe Walker sold its meat processing assets to Richmond's.
At this time, Lowe Walker was the largest exporter of beef in NZ.
Lowe Corporation is formed with a focus on animal by-products - Rendering, Skins and Hides. The plants involved were;
- Tomoana - a joint venture with Taylor Preston Limited
Graeme Lowe Hastings
Graeme Lowe Waikato (Tuakau)
Graeme Lowe Protein (Hawera)
Lowe Corporation acquires Colyer Mair
To build Lowe Corporations market share in the by-products industry, the company acquires Colyer Mair. The plants included in this acquisition were;
- Auckland Tannery
- Levin Skin Processing
- Belfast Tannery & Fellmongery
- Napier Tannery and Fellmongery
- Hollander Waitotara Processing
- Otago Fellmongery
Graeme Lowe Auckland
Graeme Lowe Belfast, Christchuch
Lowe Corporation acquires Te Aroha Skin Processors
As a continuation in building the by-products business, Lowe Corporation acquires Te Aroha Skin Processors. This consisted of two small plants; Piako and Te Aroha Skins Processors. This gave Lowe Corporation Wet Blue and salting capability in this region.
Te Aroha Skins Processors
Piako Skin Processors
Established in 2006, Cape Sanctuary is the largest privately owned wildlife restoration project in NZ. The concept of this sanctuary is that it will exist and operate in concert with farming and tourist operations.
The Lowe family, along with Julian Robertson and the Hansen family, are the land owners and drivers behind this initiative.