Name: James Turner
Occupation: Plant manager
Country of origin: New Zealand
Here with: self
Length of time in region: since 2015 in Australia, since 2018 in Orana
Hailing from the North Island, New Zealand, James Turner moved to Australia to pursue work opportunities.
As the plant manager at Darling River Meats, Mr Turner’s role is running the day to day operations of the small livestock abattoir in Bourke.
The facility opened at the beginning of 2019, with its main function being the processing and export of goat meat around the world.
Mr Turner has a Maori heritage and grew up in the former coal mining turned timber trail town of Benneydale.
After leaving school, his first job at age 16 was in a coal mine, along with sheep shearing and felling trees. He joined the meat industry at 17 and helped build a lamb/sheep abattoir in the local area called King Country Lamb.
This was followed by roles at the Te Kuiti Meat Packers, followed by a beef abattoir, another sheep plant called Progressive Meat Packers where Mr Turner was the manager followed by another management role at Ovation New Zealand.
Mr Turner was then asked to run a plant in Devonport, Tasmania processing lamb, beef and pork. He then moved to Cobram, Victoria to run an export lamb and goat plant then moved to Melbourne and helped install the fully automatic robotics at the Brooklyn site, Victoria.
After moving to Bourke in 2018, Mr Turner has overseen the construction and development of the new abattoir which has the capacity to process up to 6000 goats a day.
Mr Turner described his migration to Australia as seamless, and he is relishing being able to visit different parts of the country – his sister and nieces also live in Australia.
He has a 7-10 year plan and aims to ensure the abattoir succeeds and to make a difference in the outback.
“I believe I can make a difference with the way I work with people and my culture similarities with the local Aboriginal tribes.”
Mr Turner’s ultimate aim is to open his own meat processing plant in New Zealand.
He also enjoys rugby and rugby league. His advice to other migrants is to have all paperwork in order before you arrive.