When John Shaw emigrated from Scotland to New Zealand in 1852, he brought with him the name of his birthplace - Finegand - in the Highlands of Scotland.
He settled on the banks of the Clutha River in South Otago, where he amassed a large land-holding and farming operation.
It was land he settled that was later bought as the site for the South Otago Freezing Company's meat works.
In quite a coincidence, John Shaw's great-great-grandson, David Shaw, is a director of Silver Fern Farms, the co-operative that now owns the Finegand plant.
It was 1910 when local farmers, predominantly sending their stock either north to Burnside or further south, started thinking about building their own plant to process stock locally, thus saving on rail costs.
Their first preference was for a site on the other side of the Clutha River, at Stirling, but agreement could not be reached with the Railways Department to build a siding.
So 8.9ha (22 acres) of Finegand land was bought for 500 and a committee was formed to canvass for capital to build the plant.
After more than two years of discussion and planning, the South Otago Freezing Company's new works at Finegand was officially opened by Clutha MP A.S. Malcolm on June 13, 1912.
David Shaw, a Clinton farmer, spoke of the importance of both Finegand and the primary industries to the Clutha district.
He vividly remembered the day - he was a teenager then - that fire broke out at Finegand, during the off season.
There was a "lot of trauma" in the community until it was announced that it would be rebuilt.
Take Finegand out of the South Otago community and Balclutha would "change hugely", he said.
He described the Silver Fern Farms directorship as a "great opportunity to contribute beyond the farm gate".
In another family connection, his father-in-law Bob Stenning spent 47 years working at Finegand and was one of the last of the solo butchers.
"It touches a community in so many ways," he said.
Giving service back to the community had been part of David Shaw's heritage and his late father, Alan Shaw, was a tireless worker for many Clutha organisations, including as founding chairman of the Clutha Agricultural Development Board.
Despite the huge expansion of the dairy industry, David Shaw still sees the hinterland of Otago as predominantly sheep and beef country.
And it was a reality that the dairy industry could not function without a meat industry, he said.
There was still a "huge" overcapacity in the meat industry and reason for some consolidation, he believed.
But there were also many opportunities, including the demand for protein in Asia.
The challenge was to find wealthy segments in the markets and return high value back to farmers.
Silver Fern Farms (previously PPCS) had "come a long way" and grown considerably, he said.
PPCS was formed as a marketing company in 1947, when it was known as the Primary Producers Co-operative Society (Otago) Ltd.
During the upheaval in the meat industry in 1988 it bought the former Waitaki plants Finegand and Marlborough and Waitaki's closed works at Burnside and Islington. PPCS became known as Silver Fern Farms in June 2008.
A function to mark Finegand's centenary was held in the wool room at the plant last night, and was attended by Clutha-Southland MP and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.
A centennial ball is being held in the Balclutha War Memorial Hall tonight for all past and present employees and suppliers and anyone else associated with the plant.
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