Aalt Verkerk 1923 - 2012
OUR STORY BEGINS
Over the years, the business that Aalt started continued to grow. The retail shop established on the corner of Armagh and Manchester streets quickly became an iconic landmark for both locals and visitors to Christchurch.
Before Aalt's passing in 2012, he appointed a professional management team to take over the operational management of the company to ensure its ongoing success. This management team was carefully selected to ensure that, whilst the business had grown significantly, it would still stay true to the inherent values that were so dear to Aalt; a role that would be overseen by Mary-Anne, Aalt’s daughter.
Our story begins in 1952 when, after enduring 5 years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands, Aalt Verkerk left his family home and worked his passage on a slow ship across the ocean to a far-off New Zealand.
Aalt had been trained as a Dutch Master Butcher at the Alkmaar School of Butchery and Smallgoods and set about practising his trade with these rare skills in the new country where he would make his home and raise his children.
Aalt was incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to live and raise his family in this beautiful country. This, combined with his unwavering ethical values meant that he had a strong drive to start his own company and in doing so, he could give back to the community in the forms of both employment and high-quality salami products.
Now, the consumer-branded business is an established national brand which enjoys market leadership in the salami and ferment-type product categories across all NZ supermarket groups, with a strong presence in the Foodservice Channel.
The family remains intricately involved with the business with Mary-Anne (Aalt's daughter) wearing many hats (including Managing Director and Brand Ambassador) ensuring that the company stays true to the fundamental principles of the company that her father started all those years ago.
Mary-Anne's son Brent (Aalt's grandson) plays a critical role as the company's New Product Developer and her daughter Rachael (Aalt's grand-daughter) in assisting with a number of essential tasks to ensure that we understand our consumers wants and needs.
The A. Verkerk Ltd. story is a testament to a lifetime of achievement and a truly outstanding contribution to NZ business and society.