Wattie, James

Wattie resize

Sir James Wattie - CBE

No greater testimony to James Wattie's contribution to the economy was the acquisition of Wattie Foods by US food giant H J Heinz in 1992.

Wattie was not alive to witness the $567 million transaction but the size and shape of the business was a far cry from J Wattie Canneries he formed with Harold Carr in Hastings in 1934.

Wattie expanded the business during World War II, producing dehydrated foods to supply New Zealand and American forces. In 1947 he started quick-freezing vegetables, a process that led to spectacular economic development in Hawke's Bay and Poverty Bay.

Wattie's remains one of New Zealand's leading brands.