Today in History: McDonald’s arrives in NZ (1976)

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McDonalds[1]

1976 McDonalds opens its first restaurant in New Zealand on 7 June, located in Porirua, near Wellington.

The Golden Arches appeared for the first time in New Zealand at Cobham Court, Porirua.

Problems were encountered opening the restaurant due to strict import laws at the time, which limited importing of overseas products that could be produced in New Zealand. The kitchen for the Porirua restaurant was imported on the condition that it was to allow local companies to reproduce it, and it was to be sent back after 12 months. However, the kitchen had been cemented into the floor and removing parts of it while still maintaining the restaurant operation meant it was impossible. The New Zealand affiliate eventually negotiated with the Corporation to import more kitchens in exchange for a large surplus of cheese the New Zealand Dairy Board (nowFonterra) had

Once the Porirua restaurant was open, there were additional problems with the supply chain, with frequent industrial unrest often shutting down suppliers without warning for weeks on end. An industrial dispute shut down the bun supplier in mid-1976, resulting in McDonald’s staff having to drive all over Wellington to find substitute buns, and then cutting the sesame seed buns for the Big Mac using twobandsawsplaced side-by-side.

Beef patties were initially supplied from the Gear Meat Company inPetone, although supply was haphazard until a purpose-built meat forming machine was acquired in 1977. Like many other companies at the time, Gear Meat was plagued by industrial unrest and closed down without warning in 1982, leaving McDonald’s to import beef patties from Australia. The affiliate acquired Gear Meat’s patty-forming machine and moved it to Auckland to secure production.

The second New Zealand restaurant opened in Auckland in the oldAuckland Savings Bank BuildingonQueen Streetin July 1977. Restaurants inNew LynnandLower Huttopened in 1978, being the first restaurants withdrive-throughs. By the end of the decade, restaurants had also opened in Takapuna, Henderson, and Courtenay Place (central Wellington).

Twenty years later the American fast-food giant had 100 outlets around the country. Rivals Kentucky Fried Chicken had been the first of the big chains to open in New Zealand, in August 1971.

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1 COMMENT

  1. A dark day for Aotearoa. This egregious corporation continues to colonize the tangata whenua with non-food and ill health. I encourage our people (all who call this nation home) to follow the lead of Bolivia and close this eyesore/social canker down by stopping using it. Tihei mauri ora!

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