NZOM for husband and wife team

Kaye and Bernie Crosby founded Prolife Foods in 1984 from their home garage by selling nuts through vending machines.

Thirty years later the company produces some of the most well-known food brands in New Zealand including Mother Earth and Alison's Pantry.

The husband and wife team have both been made officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy.

The set up the food company after selling out of a real estate partnership.

Initially Kaye handled the administration while looking after two young children and Bernie weighed, packed and sold the nuts.

Three years later they had three employees and began to diversify into hospitality supplies tapping into the Rotorua market.

In 1993 they developed the Alison's Pantry brand with the backing of chef Alison Holst and found success through selling it to the New World and Pak' N Save Stores.

In 2008 the company bought Mother Earth from Cadbury.

In 2005 Kaye stepped back from a management role in the business and Bernie withdrew from day to day management in 2006. They both remain on the board.

The Hamilton-based company employs more than 600 people. Bernie received an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato last year (2013)

He has also held directorships at several other companies and contributes to the community through his support of the Hamilton Gardens, the MESH Sculpture Trust, the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award and the Coromandel Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust.

Last year he initiated a campaign to raise $1 million over five years to fund neurological research into Parkinson's disease.

 

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