Auckland has a great future despite the challenges and problems that confront New Zealand’s largest City, Mayor Len Brown has said.
“I have great faith in our city and we would like work with the private sector to ensure that progress and prosperity is shared by all Aucklanders. I want Auckland to be the best city in the world and this is an achievable objective,” he said, speaking to the management and staff of the Kalamazoo Group of companies at its headquarters in Mt Wellington on Monday, September 10, 2012.
Following a tour of the company’s printing, publishing and other facilities, he said that Kalamazoo was a ‘great example’ of entrepreneurial ability, matched by excellent staff performance.
Mr Brown commended the owners of the Group retaining its workforce and providing additional jobs despite using high-end technology.
Steve D’Souza, the Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive said that Recession was a state of the mind.
“It is sentimental and psychological. At Kalamazoo, we have made major decisions and set on a course of expansion during this difficult period. That is because we have confidence in our employees and in customers. More importantly, we have confidence in New Zealand,” he said.
Mr Brown said that as a ‘non-participant in recession,’ the Group had made significant progress over the past three years.
He said that Mr D’Souza and his wife Odelia (Managing Director of the Group) had worked hard to establish a successful business.
“It is incredible that beginning just seven years ago with 28 employees, they expanded their business and acquired non-performing companies and turned them into profitable ventures,” he said.
Mr and Mrs D’Souza purchased ‘Kalamazoo Limited,’ in 2004, and later acquired many faltering businesses including Wickliffe to make it the largest privately owned printing group in the country. The Group today accounts for 450 staff.
Among the companies in the Group are Kalamazoo NZ Limited, Wickliffe Solutions, Publishing Press Limited, Print Shop, Computer Forms Limited, Stocklink, Zoom It (Auckland), Keeling & Mundy (Palmerston North), Wyatt & Wilson, Raven Print (Christchurch), Astra Print (Wellington) and Taieri Printing (Dunedin).
Mr D’Souza said that the Group was planning not only more acquisitions this year but also diversification, among which are image transfer, logistics and packaging.
He said that ‘Going an extra K,’ is the motto of the Group and its staff.
“We believe that whatever can be done, can be done better. Customer Service is best achieved through staff involvement at all levels and in all disciplines. We have delegated authority and responsibility to managers and their teams in all areas of our operations and we value them,” Mr D’Souza said.
Mr Brown said that organisations like Kalamazoo added value to Auckland’s business environment.
“We are always considering ways and means of making the City a better place to live and work. We are also keen that businesses should succeed. We want to have better roads, transport systems including buses and trains. We want businesses, students and others to leave their cars and board our trains,” he said.
Mr Brown said that over the next 20 years, Auckland would account for 70% of the country’s population growth, 36% of the Gross Domestic Product but only 9% of the total exports.
Apart from people coming from overseas to settle down, Auckland is a destination for many New Zealanders,” he said.
“The City is also a popular destination for internal migration. More than 50% of the people living here were born outside Auckland. This has always been a city of migrants, with the earliest settlers reported to have come from Cook Islands and other places,” he said.
Stating that the Auckland Council was committed to improving the transport system under his mayoralty, Mr Brown said the challenge was to integrate the road network for better traffic flow and improved public convenience.
“I want people to know and feel that Auckland is the greatest city in the world. We have excellent tertiary education institutions such as the University of Auckland, AUT University, Manukau Institute of Technology and Unitec and hence we should have more international students coming to our city,” he said.
The Kalamazoo Group is the Sponsor of the ‘Business Excellence in Customer Service’ category of the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2012. The Group has been a sponsor of a related category for the past three years.
The Awards Night will be held on Monday, November 19, 2012 at Sky City Convention Centre, with Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Governor of the Indian State of West Bengal (and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari), the country’s leaders and John Waller, Chairman, BNZ Board of Directors and Anthony Healy, Director, BNZ Partners. Tickets for the event, priced at $150 plus GST (inclusive of cocktails and dinner) are available. Please call 021-836528 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The picture here (by Narendra Bedekar) shows Auckland Mayor Len Brown (second from right) with (front row, from left) Wenceslaus Anthony, Dayne, Odelia & Steve D’Souza, Makereta Nair (back row) Rohan Sachdeva, Warren Leslie, Glen Climo, Rauly Wilson and Councillor (Auckland Council) Richard Northey.