After 28 years ensuring our seed mixes are the best around, Ali’s calling it a day. Before retiring though, he’s got some gems to share about Topflite’s early days…
Ali is the longest-serving member of the Topflite team. He’s also a true bird lover with an invaluable knowledge of aviary birds. Traveling to the National Bird Shows just won’t be the same without Ali! He’ll be sorely missed but we wish him all the best for his motor home tour of New Zealand and other exciting retirement plans.
Position: Seed Dresser & Storeman
How long have you worked at Topflite? 28 years! Started in Jan 1990 with what was then Mitchell Brothers & Webster
What does your daily work involve? Dressing, bagging and mixing seeds mainly. Initially I also used to do a bit of farming, tractor driving and running behind Jock with spray! In the beginning we only had sunflower and canary seeds to bag, but then we got into mixing different seeds and in the early years this was done in a concrete mixer. We bagged into 50kg bags and lifted manually so it was heavy work. The day we got an elevator was a major milestone!
What is one thing you’d like people to know about Topflite? The quality. The seed has to be spot-on, otherwise it doesn’t get used.
Do you have any pets? A cat called Mittens (13 years old) and aviary birds but not many now, only about 40! We have Yorkies, Canaries, British Birds and Bengalese. Once I had most mutations of the neophemas (or grass parrots) – the pinks, yellows, cinnamons etc.
What’s your favourite animal? I like all animals! But my favourite aviary birds are the Yorkies, they are bigger than the normal canaries and I just like the look of them.
Where’s your favourite place in New Zealand? Oamaru! The climate is great, and we are so near to the lakes and fishing. So much is here on our back doorstep.
Outside of work what are your interests? Fishing. Fly-fishing and sea-fishing. We sold our boat recently and bought a motor home. Once I have retired, we are going to tour the whole of New Zealand starting next year and we hope to be on tour for one to two years. It will be great to spend more time with the grandchildren in Morrinsville and Kaukapakapa.
Anything else you’d like to share? There’s been lots of changes for sure! I remember when the first shed at Rosedale was built, we said “well if it doesn’t work out then at least it will be an implement shed”…!