Robin was born in England and arrived in New Zealand when he was four. He was brought up in Little River, Banks Peninsula which is in the South Island of New Zealand. After completing a degree at Lincoln University he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) as a Farm Consultant for nine years. He subsequently left MAF and worked at his own Consultancy business for fifteen years.
Karen was born in Christchurch, New Zealand and trained as an Inspector of Health with the Ministry of Health. Initially specialising in occupational hygiene, then in food administration for some fifteen years in a variety of positions including Policy Analyst with the then Ministry of Health based in Wellington. After starting a family Karen became an Approved Food Safety Programme & Quality systems Auditor auditing around New Zealand including auditing food company’s against the British Retail Consortium (BRC Programme) for twelve years. This lead to managing Asurequality’s Southern Team of Auditors before leaving to work with Robin in New Zealand Vegetable Oil Limited.
How did it all start?
Robin had seen an article on oilseed production and wondered why it wasn’t being done in New Zealand. He found that South Oils based in Southland had been growing rapeseed & producing oil some thirty years ago. After doing much research and following up with trips to both Europe and the United Kingdom to study equipment and methods, New Zealand Vegetable Oil Limited was born. The first trial planting was in 2007 with the first press arriving in 2008. nZeaola ™ was launched late 2009 in Christchurch.
With the business steadily growing the skills that both Robin & Karen brought to the business proved to be an ideal blend. The “Zeaola Corolla” hit the roads of the South Island of New Zealand and now nZeaola ™ is stocked in a number of New World Supermarkets and gourmet outlets throughout the South Island, Wellington and moving steadily northwards. In addition the animal feed side of the business has proved to be very successful with demand often exceeding production.
Robin – aka “The Oil Man” – is really proud of being able to produce a wholly New Zealand quality oil from developing the systems and the plant, growing the crop, processing and finally through to the finished product -nZeaola ™ Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil and Rapeseed Meal.