Iwi-owned company closes loop on dairy
Taupō-based dairy company Miraka takes a long-term view to business, and their approach to milk production is no exception. “Our focus is on creating a world-class operation” says Paul Trewin, GM of operations at Miraka. “We’re always looking for ways to improve. Creating quality products with a low carbon footprint, while looking after our people, […]
Taupō-based dairy company Miraka takes a long-term view to business, and their approach to milk production is no exception.
“Our focus is on creating a world-class operation” says Paul Trewin, GM of operations at Miraka. “We’re always looking for ways to improve. Creating quality products with a low carbon footprint, while looking after our people, guides each operational decision.”
Miraka’s dairy powder plant is based in Mokai, a 30-minute drive from Taupō. The plant is one of just two in the world powered from geothermal energy. This renewable source of energy helps produce Miraka’s UHT and powdered milk.
“We export almost everything we produce and our biggest customers are in China. We’re currently producing around 300 million litres of milk a year – that’s 50 truck-and-trailer loads a day” says Paul.
Paul, who moved from Dubai to take on the Miraka role over two years ago, has been working on reducing milk waste in the manufacturing process.
“For us it’s about making products, not waste. We’ve improved our systems so that almost all the milk delivered from the farm makes it into production. The small amount of remaining milk waste is sent to a worm farm” says Paul. The industrial scale worm-farm creates worm castings for the local native plant nursery. These plants are then used by Miraka for riparian planting.
Wastewater from the manufacturing process is also recycled. After treatment it is sprayed across local farm-land, reducing the need for additional fertilisers. And for those products that don’t quite pass the test?
“Powdered milk that doesn’t quite meet our stringent quality measures is still full of nutrients, so is being used for calf-feeding. It’s a pretty impressive closed-loop recycling system” says Paul.
These innovative practices have meant Miraka is ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability. “At Miraka our decisions are driven by our values” says Murray Hemi, Miraka’s Kaitiaki and GM of environmental leadership. “We have a strong focus on working towards zero waste and supporting a circular economy. We firmly believe in converting what was once considered ‘trash’ into someone else’s ‘treasure’. It’s about looking for ways to innovate further and truly lead New Zealand and the world in sustainable dairy.”
Despite significant recent growth, the iwi-owned company has retained a focus on whānau and community. There is a regular te reo class, staff participate in monthly kapa haka practice, and there are several sporting events throughout the year.
“When we recruit we’re not just looking for a match in skills, we’re also looking for people that embrace Te Ara Miraka – the Miraka Way. We’ve found that people from around the world are keen to work with us – they are attracted to our story and sense of purpose,” says Paul.