The New Zealand red meat sector is mourning the loss of a great servant to the industry.
Tim Ritchie, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association from 2007-2020, passed away recently.
Tim was from a farming family and graduated from Lincoln University with degrees in marketing and economics. His first job was in Treasury, but he moved on to the New Zealand Freezing Companies Association (the precursor of the Meat Industry Association) as their Secretary/Economist.
Tim went on to work in meat marketing in Europe and New Zealand, and as General Manager, P&O Containers, in New Zealand.
In the 1980s, he was appointed Managing Director of Advanced Foods of New Zealand (now Ovation). He held management positions with the Meat Board, and spent three years in Brussels advocating for New Zealand’s red meat industry in Europe. He returned to take up senior roles at Meat & Wool New Zealand (now Beef + Lamb New Zealand).
In 2007, Tim was appointed the MIA’s chief executive. His very successful term as CEO saw the MIA become an active and influential policy and advocacy body on behalf of the processing and exporting industry.
Tim was an architect of the Red Meat Sector Strategy in 2011 and developed a partnership approach for Government-industry policy.
His great interest was in trade policy and Tim was prominent on trade issues.
Early on, Tim recognised the importance of China for the New Zealand red meat industry and he led the way in developing relationships with Chinese officials and businesses, including regular delegations to China. During this time, he also held a large number of governance positions for the meat processing and farming industry.
Tim juggled this prominent role as chief executive of the MIA with a close home life. Tim was married to Deb, and he was the extremely proud father of three children. He frequently travelled to his farm at White Rock Station in the Wairarapa.
He had built a home in the Wairarapa and had just retired there with Deb where he was looking forward to an active life in retirement including travel to the UK. His passing was unexpected.
Tim was extremely highly regarded as a man who loved the sheep and beef industry and always believed that it had a great future. He was a man of tremendous integrity and always advocated from a principled position. He was outgoing, friendly and had a great sense of humour. His passing came as a shock and the industry will miss him greatly.