On the ninth day of our adventure, we woke up to another wonderful breakfast in Tauranga before we headed off to our first morning visit at ADM. We gathered in the boardroom and learned from Ross Bowmar about ADM’s importation of palm kernel extract into New Zealand. Since Ross studied in the U.S. and worked at several ADM locations in the states, he also explained to us how the New Zealand location differs from ADM’s Decatur location (we previously visited ADM in Decatur prior to leaving for New Zealand). We were also able to see ADM in action in preparing palm kernel for processing and distribution in their storage sheds.
Afterward, we made our way to a local beach and took some stunning photos at the foot of Mount Manganui, or the “Mount” as locals call it.
After taking our group picture and rounding up all the photographers from the beach, we made our way to the Port of Tauranga. The Port of Tauranga is New Zealand's largest port by volume and we began our visit with a bus tour of the Port. Then, we went inside the main office for a presentation from Mark Whitworth. Mark explained the port’s operations and the details of their exports. Nearly half of the goods they export are logs, which are mainly headed for Asia. While at the port, we observed several tons of logs at the port ready to be loaded as well as a ship full of logs leaving the port headed for China. We had a great lunch featuring sushi, sandwiches, and famous New Zealand meat pies. Since the port had a great view of Mt. Manganui, more pictures were taken, but we were quickly ushered away so we could make our next appointment at Hobbiton!
Our final tour of the day occurred in Matamata, in the magical land of Hobbiton. We began our tour with afternoon tea. Much to our surprise, the farm owner (Hobbiton is built on a sheep farm) and the Assistant Director of the Lord of the Rings films were also enjoying tea at the same time as our group! Aside from the amazing views and magical scenes we got along the tour, all of us enjoyed a free drink at the Green Dragon pub at the conclusion of our tour!
Following that adventure we had a free night in Hamilton. We went our separate ways for dinner and enjoyed a good and early night’s rest to prepare for the following day’s visit with Fonterra.