In 1975 Hawkes Bay Businessman Graeme Lowe refused to take no for an answer in his quest for meat industry de-regulation. This giant of a man with a sweeping business vision led a charge that resulted finally in the deregulation of the whole New Zealand economy.
Over three and half decades against a backdrop of political, industrial, economic and commercial intrigue, Lowe built his business into the largest privately owned meat processing and exporting business in New Zealand.
He achieved this against implacable opposition in one of New Zealands most competitive export industries.
In 1997 Graeme sold his meat plants to his fiercest competitor Richmond, but retained his tanning and rendering assets, along with a long-term supply agreement for hides, skins and rendering material. This arrangement worked well for both parties and in Richmonds 1998 Annual report chairman Sam Robinson said, it is appropriate to pay special tribute to Graeme Lowe who when it came to divesting himself of his met assets chose Richmond because it most closely represented the values of his own company. Richmond thanks Graeme for his vision and leadership.
In September 2001 Lowe Corporation purchased Colyer Mair Limited and overnight became the largest privately owned semi finished hide and skin processing company in New Zealand.
Graeme had come full circle. Colyer Mair had previously purchased Colyer Watson which had once been a subsidiary of the Barrow Hepburn and Gale Group.Â Hepburn and Gale was the tanning company in Beverley Yorkshire England where Graeme had started his career more than 50 years ago.