A new history of New Zealand’s sheep and beef sector released this week outlines the achievements of the red meat industry over the past 25 years and its vital contribution to the national economy.

“Meeting Change: the NZ Red Meat Story 1997-2022,” written by Ali Spencer and Mick Calder, was commissioned by the New Zealand Meat Board (NZMB) to mark its centenary year.

It is the third in a series of histories of the sector and follows “Golden Jubilee” edited by Dai Hayward (1972) and “Meat Acts”, written by Janet Tyson and Mick Calder (1999).

The book was officially launched at an event last night (29th June) at Te Papa in Wellington, attended by current and former Meat Board members and staff, and other key players in the sheep and beef sector.

Andrew Morrison, chair of the NZMB, said the book makes for compelling reading and demonstrates the sector’s resilience over the past 25 years, the evolving role of the Board and the importance of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

“It also shows the many reasons New Zealanders have to celebrate our red meat sector,” said Mr Morrison.

“Over the past 25 years, we have arguably seen more change than in the previous 75 years. No sector in New Zealand has had the productivity gains that the sheep and beef sector has achieved since the 1990s.

“There has been huge growth, especially in the value of exports. This has been helped, among other things, by the work of B+LNZ and its predecessors on market access, research and development, genetics and farm productivity.

“The book details the technological advances, innovative approaches to climate change mitigation, increasing our understanding of the consumer, the foresight around negotiating market access and the move to better paying markets.”

Meeting Change also traces the evolution of B+LNZ, which took over the sector’s industry good responsibilities, with the NZMB continuing to deliver for the industry with its effective quota management function helping underpin the sector’s success.

The NZMB currently oversees $2.3 billion of red meat exports to the quota markets of the European Union, United Kingdom and United States. It also has responsibility for more than $80 million of farmer reserves, providing crucial funding to assist in re-opening export markets in the event of any major industry crisis.

The Board’s duties are set to expand further with NZMB taking on responsibility for the administration of the transitional Free Trade Agreement quotas between the UK and New Zealand once the deal is ratified by both countries.

Edited by Janet Tyson and published in hardback and paperback in New Zealand by Mary Egan Publishing, Meeting Change can be purchased from https://meetingchange.nz or via sales@meetingchange.nz.

Left to right: Mick Calder, co-author; Ali Spencer, co-author; Andrew Morrison, NZMB Chairman