Tasman Pulp & Paper Company Limited

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The Tasman Pulp & Paper Company Ltd was formed in 1952 following calls by the New Zealand Government for proposals to utilise the growing resource of the Kaingaroa State Forest.

The government received only one tender in response to the proposals, in the name of Tasman Pulp and Paper Company. The company undertook to build a pulp and newsprint mill to utilise the wood from Kaingaroa State Forest, while the government would guarantee to provide rail, road and deep-water wharf facilities, and on-site accommodation for workers.

Tasman Pulp and Paper Company Ltd was formally incorporated in 1952. Shares were held by the Crown, Fletcher Trust and Investment Ltd and the public. The first provisional Board of Directors was chaired by Sir James Fletcher, with JC Fletcher as the other director appointed by Fletcher Trust and Investment Ltd. The Crown appointed as directors BC Ashwin (Assistant Secretary to the Treasury), AC Entrican (Director of Forests) and ER McKillop (Commissioner of Works). L J Stevens was a public director.

For the first two years, no trading took place as construction of the mill, Murupara-Kawerau railway and Mt Mauganui wharf progressed. In 1955 the pulp mill and the newsprint machine were brought into production. The Tasman sawmill followed in 1956 and Tasman Pulp and Paper (Sales) Pty Ltd was established in Australia to facilitate marketing of the company's products.

Tasman Pulp and Paper commissioned the second newsprint machine in 1962. In the same year, it purchased the Crown's shares in the Kaingaroa Logging Company.

During 1964, Tasman acquired a majority interest in Stow & Sadgrove Ltd, pre-cut furniture manufacturers, who were a large customer for the company's timber. The name was changed to Personality Pre-cut Furniture (and later to Tasman Exports Ltd). Tasman also invested in Forest Investigations Ltd, which was set up to explore future developments in the pulp and paper industry in New Zealand.

In 1965, Sir James Fletcher, who had been Chairman of the Board since Tasman's incorporation, retired from the Chair but remained a Director. JC Fletcher became Chairman in his place.

Negotiations began with the Government and Maori land owners in the Tarawera valley to establish a joint venture company, in which Tasman would undertake to establish and maintain a new forest on land which was unusable for other purposes. Tarawera Forests Ltd was incorporated until 1967.

In 1966, the company acquired an interest in Tascor (NZ) Ltd, a supplier of newsprint reel cores situated in Kawerau.

In 1971, the Government guaranteed a sufficient supply of wood from Kaingaroa and other state forests for a third paper machine and installation was begun

The No. 3 newsprint machine was commissioned in 1975.

In 1975, an arrangement was made with the Union Steam Ship Company for Tasman Pulp and Paper Company Ltd to own and operate two ships exclusively for transporting the company's products to Australia and the South Island.

In 1979 the Government decided to sell its shares in the company and by 1980, Fletcher Holdings owned 56.46 percent, and Challenge Corporation 28.23 percent, of Tasman Pulp and Paper Company Ltd.

In 1980, the Boards of Fletcher Holdings Ltd, Challenge Corporation Ltd and Tasman Pulp and Paper Company Ltd decided to merge their interests and form one group, to be known as Fletcher Challenge Limited. The new company was incorporated in January 1981, although Tasman Pulp and Paper Company Ltd continued to operate as a separate entity.

In 1995 the Kawerau newsprint mill added specialty paper grades, 'Hi Brite' and 'SupaBrite which were developed specifically for use on new generation high speed presses.

In 1996 Tasman Pulp & Paper & Co Ltd became part of Fletcher Challenge Paper Division which consisted of the interests in the manufacture and distribution of communication papers and market kraft pulp, related forestry and other activities. Fletcher Challenge Paper included interests in Chile, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the Unites States of America.

On July 30 2000 the Fletcher Challenge Paper Division was divested to Norske Skogindustrier.

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