We Are Wattie's

We're proud of the heritage that comes with the Wattie's name, and since our merger with Kraft Heinz in 1992, we've been able to hold true the values from our very inception – but now on an international scale. Our people now have global opportunities at their doorsteps and the ability to impact a wide consumer base. The Kraft Heinz Company is the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world, with eight $1 billion+ brands. As one of the world's leading food companies, we take great pride in our reputation for providing quality, nutritious foods to consumers. So, it's only right that we have the same sense of pride in 'hand picking' the talent we recruit into our business. Just like the quality ingredients we insist on for our products, we only hire the best people for our business. In return, we provide a collaborative culture that encourages ownership, creative thinking and an appetite for quality in all that we do.

Our Locations

Auckland Hawke’s Bay Wellington Christchurch Dunedin
Auckland Office

Auckland is an international city, home to our Newmarket office. Our Newmarket office is situated a few minutes away from the CBD in the center of Auckland’s premier fashion, shopping and entertainment precinct. Auckland city is rich in culture, diversity and things to do. This is a rare opportunity to get the best of both city life and the spectacular natural beauty of its harbours, islands, beaches, forests and volcanoes. Working in Auckland truly offers up the best of everything – safety, job opportunities, a plethora of recreational activities and a family friendly environment.
Hawke’s Bay Site

This is where it all started. In 1934, James Wattie established the first Wattie’s operation in Hastings. Here, we have two world class manufacturing facilities located in an area known around the world as one of the finest areas for producing fruit and vegetables. it all started on King Street in our factory known as Tamoana. Today we produce a range of canned fruit and vegetables, frozen vegetables, baked beans, spaghetti, soups, sauces and organic vegetables for distribution throughout New Zealand and the world. Our Tomoana factory has several different production facilities producing pet foods, jams, food dressings, soups, sauces and burgers. From this location, over 1200 product lines are also distributed via our Distribution Centre to our customers. The Hawke’s Bay area is known as the North Island’s fruit-bowl and is an agricultural hub. It is surrounded by a large bay. Hawke’s Bay offers plenty of scenic attractions, iconic buildings and wineries, concerts, conferences, sporting events and farmers’ markets throughout the year.
Wellington Office

Wellington is the world’s southernmost capital city and is the third most populated city in New Zealand. Home to some of the world’s most creative businesses, Wellington is a global connectivity hub. This is a cosmopolitan city fueled with energy and a vibrantly creative culture made up of great food, wine, beer, coffee and events. Experience the influence of Maori tradition, see the native wildlife, as well as visit the workshops for some of the world’s biggest films (ie. Lord of the Rings).
Christchurch Site

Our Christchurch factory is the only Wattie’s site on the South Island of New Zealand. Here, we’re dedicated to producing frozen, dehydrated and freeze-dried vegetable products, with 150 permanent employees and another 160 seasonal workers who join us between November and August. Christchurch is a bustling urban area, and the second largest city in New Zealand. There’s the great outdoors, an accessible housing market and unrivalled recreational activities available in this beautiful basecamp. If you’d like to challenge the status quo - Christchurch may just be the city for you. It’s prime in its growth and opportunity – and home to an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Dunedin Site

Dunedin is a prime area if you’re looking to rediscover a sense of time and the lifestyle that comes with it. Dunedin has so much to offer in the form of recreational activities, bars, restaurants, new businesses, alley ways, hidden gems and of course - the beautiful great outdoors. There’s a strong sense of cultural heritage, bolstered by an abundance of active social networks and local community activities. It’s easy to get around the city and housing is super accessible – we needn’t go on!

Why work in NZ

Recreational Activities

Work life Balance

Living in New Zealand and working for Wattie’s, is an opportunity to combine working for one of the nation’s most loved brands whilst experiencing a generally relaxed pace of life in your downtime. Accommodation is more affordable than other metropolitan cities and with the wilderness just outside your doorstep, there is so much culture and nature to explore.

Family Friendly

Family Friendly

New Zealand is possibly one of the most family friendly places in the world. There’s rich culture and kiwi charms that permeate throughout schooling experiences. The awareness and respect towards Maori culture shows the respect the country has in respecting and honouring the traditional owners of the land. Living conditions in most places are positive due to the thriving economy, lack of congestion and poverty.

Expats Welcomed

Expats Welcomed

We value global experience, which is why we have invested in becoming an Accredited Employer. We recognise that individuals on a Talent Work Visa have just as much potential to fit our culture and thrive in our business, so it doesn’t matter where you’re from, you can be find your perfect role here at Watties.

Wattie's and Kraft Heinz

1934 1936 1945 1950 1958 1962 1966 1980 1992 1999 2020
The Wattie’s story began in Hawke’s Bay in 1934. Fresh New Zealand produce was being wasted because of the prohibitive cost of transporting fresh produce from Hastings to the cities of Auckland and Wellington. James (Jim) Wattie and friend Harold Carr formed J. Wattie Canneries Ltd in 1934 and in 1935 started supplying pulped fruit from gooseberries, plums and peaches to be made into jam, which led in turn to the canning of peaches and pears.
In 1936, bad weather wiped out the crops of peaches and pears. Instead of importing fruit, Jim and Harold decided to grow and can peas and tomatoes. Many said peas wouldn’t grow in Hawke’s Bay and doubted that consumers would buy canned tomatoes. Jim’s foresight proved correct. Wattie’s peas soon became popular in New Zealand and the UK. Tomatoes were an immediate success, and quickly sold out. At the end of the 1930s, Wattie’s’ success was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Wattie’s was called on to contribute to the war effort, with its operations being designated an essential industry by the Government. Almost everything that Wattie’s could make was needed to feed the Allied soldiers – mainly canned rations.
When the war ended, the demand for canned meat and dehydrated rations slowed. So Jim led the company in a new direction, creating new products made from the natural produce that Wattie’s specialised in. Tomatoes were added to a host of great ingredients to create the products that future generations of Kiwis would grow up with: Wattie’s Tomato Sauce, Baked Beans, Spaghetti and Tomato Purée.
In 1950, Jim Wattie wanted to expand his range of products to include sweet corn. He convinced local farmers to plant corn, and then built a factory from scratch. Virtually overnight, Wattie’s became the world’s biggest frozen food manufacturer outside the USA. Soon after that, Wattie’s began catching, processing and canning fish. When Wattie’s became concerned with the amount of waste this industry generated, the pet food brands ‘Felix’ and ‘Fido’ were launched to use what had once been waste – another New Zealand first.
In 1958, Wattie’s started production of its own lines of baby food. Jim immediately got involved with the world renowned Plunket Society. When Plunket gave their seal of approval to the new products, Kiwi mothers embraced the new range and sales were immediately strong. The relationship was reinforced in 1990, when Wattie’s−Plunket Baby Foods were launched. Today, Wattie’s helps to ensure Plunket’s goals are met not only by sponsoring the Society but by providing advice and support to young families through the Wattie’s ForBaby website.
In 1962, a significant fire broke out on the King Street manufacturing site in Hastings. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt, but most of the factory was destroyed. Immediately, Jim Wattie moved into action to overcome this setback. Stocks of beans and tomatoes were dispatched to the Gisborne factory within six hours, and canning production restarted within 24 hours. His staff was so determined to get production going again that the first day’s canned pea production was the biggest they’d ever achieved. In the aftermath of the destruction, the company took the opportunity to rebuild the factory and speed up planned expansions.
Jim Wattie, as he was always known, was knighted Sir James Wattie in 1966 for services to the food industry. This was considered just recognition for the considerable achievements in his lifetime. He mentioned that he was a salaried man who considered himself only one of 24,000 New Zealand Wattie’s shareholders, the great majority of whom were small investors. Factory workers recalled that Sir James regularly went through the factory talking to whomever he met and that he knew all employees by their first name. Local growers recalled him as a man who was ‘hard, but fair and honest’ in his dealings with them. Sir James stepped down as Managing Director of Wattie Industries Ltd in 1972 and handed the reins to his elder son, Gordon. His younger son, Ray, became Managing Director of the Wattie Canneries division. Sir James Wattie passed away at his home on 8 June 1974. Tributes poured in from around the world.
In 1980, Goodman Fielder and Wattie Industries purchased shares in each other’s companies beginning what was to become a close relationship. This was consummated by a merger in 1987 to create Goodman Fielder Wattie Ltd.
In October 1992, the H.J. Heinz Company of Pittsburgh, USA, purchased Wattie’s from Goodman Fielder for $565 million, beginning an exciting chapter in the New Zealand company’s history. H.J. Heinz was established in 1869 by Henry J. Heinz and from its inception the company had a reputation for producing high quality nutritious foods. The H.J. Heinz Company produced many similar products to Wattie’s, such as baked beans, soups, baby foods and sauces, and saw in Wattie’s a company with similar values that would be a natural fit with its global business. Wattie’s purchased the nearby disused freezing works at Tomoana, Hastings, in 1995 and rebuilt the site into a modern food processing factory and distribution centre. Wattie’s also purchased associated businesses, including in 1996 Craig’s brand jams and canned beans and the Pacific and Hellaby’s brands of corned beef, and in 1998 the ETA brand salad dressings and peanut butter (under licence) and the Bruno pet food brand. Over $100 million was invested in upgrading the factories at King Street and Tomoana to meet the quality and price demands of international food markets. The development of canned pasta sauces and new frozen products in the mid−1990s was boosted by the revolutionary Food in a Minute ®television campaign. This series of short cooking programmes was designed to help Kiwis cook quick, easy and nutritious meals. Now hosted by Lana Garland, this concept has been developed further with the Food in a Minute website which since its inception has received more hits than any other food website in New Zealand.
In 1999, Wattie’s established Kowhai Farm, an organic 57−hectare cropping farm run by the company in conjunction with Lincoln University. This profitable commercial scale mixed−cropping farm was used to research sustainable agriculture practices and methods of reducing carbon emissions, and to give grower suppliers ideas to adapt to their own farms.
Currently Kraft Heinz is working towards creating a sustainable future. Hence Wattie’s is continuing to evolve our portfolio products, supporting New Zealanders to transition from animal-based protein to plant-based protein food choices. We’re working on bolstering our community and education initiatives to guide parents and families on nutrition and are supporting the implementation of health star ratings on our products throughout Australia and New Zealand. We also work closely with our suppliers and growers across New Zealand to ensure the highest quality of product reaches the shelves. Check our News section to stay up to date with what we’re up to!
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