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Wattie's: History on the wall

One of Hastings’ longest serving companies is helping make Hastings more beautiful; and celebrating that it is very much a part of our Great Things Grow Here story.

Wattie’s is welcoming the painting of a massive mural reflecting its history on its 3 metre by 20 metre wall facing into the A&P Showgrounds. Hastings District Council’s Keep Hastings Beautiful team is co-ordinating the project.

A clean up of what is the rear end of Wattie’s Tomoana site has already been undertaken, with graffiti cleaned off, new fencing installed, and trees planted between the building and the rail line.

Now it is time for the addition of the ‘big picture’. The concept has been put together by designer Alan Passchier and will come alive on the wall at the hands of artist Brandon Blair. Weather depending, the wall will be cleaned in the next two weeks before the art starts.

Wattie’s history in Hastings dates back to 1934, when Jim Wattie and Harold Carr started J. Wattie Canneries Ltd.  Mr Wattie saw that fresh Hawke’s Bay produce was being wasted because it was too expensive to send it to Auckland and Wellington. The pair started pulping gooseberries, plums and peaches to be made into jam, before moving into canning peaches and pears. From there it was a short stride to canning peas and tomatoes.

Wattie’s products are in virtually every household in New Zealand and two thirds of production is exported across the world.  Today Wattie’s makes a wide range of products including the iconic Wattie’s Tomato Sauce, Baked Beans and Spaghetti, frozen foods, fruit and vegetables, jams, soup and pet food.

Wattie’s managing director Mike Pretty, said the company had a long and proud history in Hastings and being able to so publicly add to the character of the city was an honour.

“The story of Sir James Wattie is known by almost everyone in Hastings and wider Hawke’s Bay. On top of our world famous fine wines and foods, Hastings is becoming increasingly known for its public art. At Wattie’s, we are pleased to be able to contribute to that.”



4 October 2017

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