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Dominion Salt is enjoying “a quiet sense of achievement on a longer-term journey” says its CEO Shane Dufaur upon winning a top NZ export award.

The 75-year-old company took out the Top Exporter of the Year prize at the Bay of Plenty ExportNZ awards.

Dominion Salt’s strong client and export focus has seen it grow its export business from 25 per cent of turnover in 2012, to just under 40 per cent this year, with more than 40 countries now served. Further international customer growth is targeted – an exporting figure of just over 50 per cent is forecast by 2020.  

Dufaur says most of this projected growth will come from its pharmaceutical and high-grade added food business, making it a model example of a New Zealand company moving from a price-sensitive commodity market into a premium value-add category.
“At Dominion Salt, we have a strong focus on people both internally and externally, which means understanding what national and international customers want and value, and then building a team culture that delivers,” he says.  

Tauranga is the home of the company’s exporting division, yet Dominion Salt’s production capabilities are firmly entrenched in the salt plains of the Marlborough region, where it was established by George Skellerup in 1942.   
“This award is as much about our people in Marlborough as it is about the people in the Bay of Plenty,” Dufaur acknowledges. 
“We are a tight-knit and focused team with a mission to supply a global market with life’s most essential minerals via the world’s safest hands,” he says. 

While the pristine Marlborough environment provides the perfect conditions for salt harvesting, Dufaur credits the decision to establish the Northern plant in the Bay of Plenty in 1973 as integral to  business success.  
“From the outset, we have been fortunate to work alongside innovative leaders at the Port of Tauranga and in local government.  Together, they have created and delivered on a vision that has gone from strength to strength, and we’ve ridden the wave with them.  Now we have a world-class port that is literally on our back door, with an infrastructure that is the envy of exporters globally.”

Dominion Salt’s success at the Export Awards comes on the back of a series of recent awards, many conferred by their clients around the globe.  
“Awards are secondary, but nonetheless, much appreciated by our customers and staff alike, as it validates their decision and proves that they’ve chosen a good team in Dominion Salt. It sends a signal to our customers and staff that we are working to world-class standards and leading the way in our industry.  
“We are about under-stated excellence, stakeholder engagement and teamwork. But with that said, there is a palatable sense of pride and satisfaction amongst our ranks today, and it’s nice for everyone involved to pause on the journey, and say well done to one another.  “Today is definitely a day for enjoying the moment, before it’s back to business as usual,” he says.
Pictured at the awards night are, from left: Dominion Salt sales manager Brett Hobson, operations manager Hamish Reid, export sales manager Robin Piggott, chief executive Shane Dufaur, Sharp Tudhope partner Kylie van Heerden, Logistics manager Andy Reynolds, and health, safety, quality and environment manager Royce Downes.


Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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