Rainbow Confectionery's factory in north Oamaru. Photo by
Rainbow Confectionery Ltd has doubled its capacity with
the acquisition of an Australian confectionery plant.
Combined production from Metford Confectionery Pty Ltd, in
Newcastle, and Rainbow's Oamaru factory means Rainbow is now
the largest privately owned confectionery manufacturer in
Rainbow was working hard to get the new plant up and running
and planned to re-employ redundant Metford staff, managing
director Ray White said. Staff numbers were expected to be
about 45. Last year, The Maitland Mercury newspaper reported
the Metford plant was closing, leaving 10 people without
jobs. Increasing costs of raw materials, wages and energy
were blamed for the closure.
In a statement yesterday, Mr White said the plant
manufactured many of the same lollies as Rainbow but also
came with equipment to manufacture chocolate soft-centred
eggs and filled chocolates.
''The new plant adds huge scope to Rainbow's business in both
New Zealand and Australia. We already export from New Zealand
to Australia but soon we will be driving transtasman trade in
''It's exciting to be able to apply the industry knowledge
and production expertise we've accumulated over the past
decade to this new plant and make it profitable again,'' he
In 1995, the long-standing Oamaru-based confectionery
business Regina was sold to Nestle NZ Ltd, which closed the
factory in 2001 and moved production to Australia.
There had been a long history of confectionery-making in the
town, ever since Jack McNamara moved Regina Confections Ltd
from Dunedin in 1949.
Private investors Patrick Betty, Rod Thornton and Mr White
then bought the assets, re-employed many of the redundant
staff and started making confectionery again, including
jellies, pineapple chunks and party mix.
The trio added new technology and invested in new plant,
including the ability to produce jellybeans - the only
manufacturer in New Zealand to do so.
It now employs up to 100 staff at the Oamaru factory during
the height of the Easter season.
Combined annual production at Rainbow's two plants is
expected to be about 9000 tonnes.