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Miraka welcomes new leadership and globally recognised certification

April 2024

Industry leader in sustainable dairy processing, Miraka, which has one of the world’s lowest manufacturing carbon emissions footprints, has kicked off the first quarter of 2024 welcoming new leadership and the globally renowned B Corp Certification recognising the company’s social, business and environmental impact.


In January, three of the company’s founding Directors, Kingi Smiler, Maxwell Parkin and Mai Kieu Lien, stepped down from the Board having served the maximum term under the company’s constitution.


The new independent Chair, Bruce Scott, who joined the Miraka Board in 2022, paid homage to Smiler, Parkin and Lien.

“Their contributions over many years have been outstanding.  Miraka would not have achieved what it has – they set us up for future success,” said  Mr Scott, a former CEO of Tegel Foods NZ and Chair of the NZ Poultry Association.


The new Board appointees are Nigel Atherfold - Acting Chair of Pāmu Farms of New Zealand and a former New Zealand Olympic rower; Te Horipo Karaitiana - CEO of kiwifruit business, Te Awanui Huka Pak and Deputy Chair of Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, and Truc Le Quang Thanh – a Vietnam Vinamilk Dairy Executive.


They join Bruce Scott and Tūaropaki Trust Director and finance investment executive, Debbie Birch, who was appointed a Miraka Director in 2023.  Ms Birch has also recently been appointed to the Board of Westpac New Zealand.


Bruce Scott: “The changes in our governance were part of our succession planning.  We’re delighted to be joined by people with passion and expertise to take Miraka forward on the next part of our journey.”


In February, Miraka became a Certified B Corporation.  ‘B Corps’ as they are commonly known, are businesses which have been independently vetted and certified as achieving and maintaining high standards of business, social and environmental impact.


Bruce Scott: “While Miraka is renowned as the world’s first geothermally powered dairy processor, giving us a 92% lower manufacturing carbon emissions footprint than coal-fired factories, B Corp Certification also acknowledges the mahi we do beyond environmental matters, such as supporting our wider community, staff and farmers.


In late 2023, Miraka gained New Zealand’s highly regarded Toitū CarbonReduce certification affirming the company’s commitment to measuring and reducing product emissions through best practice standards.  The B Corp and Toitū certifications are independently reassessed every two to three years.


Miraka CEO, Karl Gradon, also acknowledged the company’s loyal farmer supplier base. 


“It all begins on the farm.  A lot of our success can be attributed to our dairy farmers whose Kaitiakitanga values (environmental protection, care and guardianship) align with ours.  Our farming excellence programme, Te Ara Miraka, champions best practice among our farming community,” says Mr Gradon.


Since 2010, Miraka has paid more than $21 million in premium milk payments to its suppliers.  In the company’s latest milk price forecast, it expects to pay an average of $7.96 / kg MS for the 2023/2024 season.


The Thomasen family, at Tirohanga, 25 minutes drive northwest of Taupō, are inaugural milk suppliers, joining Miraka in 2011.

Brothers, Mark and Michael Thomasen, now own the 600-cow herd farm their parents bought back in 2001.  They like the personal approach of Miraka.

“Our parents, Peter and Judy, joined Miraka when the company was established.  They liked that Miraka had strong values and foundations, and built personal relationships with its suppliers.  We’re not just another number to Miraka,” said the Thomasen brothers.

Bruce Scott says Miraka has its sights set on the future and using 100% renewable energy within the next decade.  Currently, 93% of the company’s power comes from renewable geothermal energy.


Last September, Miraka joined forces with its milk tanker company, Central Transport Ltd and Tūaropaki Trust to establish a rural hydrogen hub at Mokai, 30 kilometres north-west of Taupō, where its plant is located.


Tūaropaki, is a cornerstone investor and shareholder in Miraka.  The Trust partnered with Japan’s Obayashi Corporation to build a hydrogen production plant at Mokai, just down the road from the Miraka facility.


“We see green hydrogen as being a key part of our future development and aspirations to use 100% renewable energy.  We’re excited by the opportunities which lay ahead for Miraka and our key partners,” says Mr Scott.


[This article was published in the New Zealand Dairy Newspaper, Autumn 2024 edition. Some photos have been changed in this post].


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