The Tecklenberg family set up shop in Te Kauwhata, Waikato in 1965.
Shortly after arriving in New Zealand, Mr. Henk Tecklenberg, a pioneer of our industry quickly realized the potential for exporting a premium product to his relatives and associates in Europe.
For 3 generations the factory thrived by exporting to Europe, Asia, America and Australia.
Then in 2004, the Quota Management System changed the game. In order to own seafood quota in New Zealand, companies have to pay large amounts of money upfront depending on how much they think they will catch. Then on top of that, rates are paid throughout the year.
The industry began with 38 factories in the North Island, now there are only 2. For a small family business in the rural Waikato, it became too hard to carry their legacy on any further.
Southfish is a leading New Zealand seafood supply company based in Bluff, Southland. They have a prestigious global reputation for providing fresh fish and seafood on a large scale to their international clients.
In 2004, Southfish recognised the value that New Zealand Eel could bring to the company and decided to take over from the Tecklenbergs.
At the time, the foreman of NZ Eel had been working away at the company for 30 years. He was an expert in everything eel, and Southfish recognised his abilities. They passed the torch on to him, and for 15 years Walt ran the company as his own.
Walt steered the company through many trials and troubles during his tenure, and served as a director for the Eel Enhancement Company, a company set up to protect the rights and interests for industry and community eel quota stakeholders, as well as local iwi groups.
He was also a bit of a local legend here in TK, even after the hair had gone.
in 2019, our current manager Lewis took over. Lewis came to us from Goodman Fielder, a New Zealand food institution since 1909 with over 40 factories around the globe. He has brought with him his own experiences, and has taken the advice and values that Walt passed on to him to create a vision for the company of 'becoming the most effective and prestigious supplier of wild caught eel in New Zealand, and to create a powerful brand for our customers; both domestic and international.'
Today New Zealand Eel has kept up its original mission to provide a premium product to the global community. We carry the same values as the old Tecklenbergs of giving back to the community, creating employment opportunities in the region, and looking after our fish.
All of our products are processed in the original factory and are still exported all over the world.