A childhood that ranged from Africa to Indonesia and back to his parents' homeland the Netherlands before the family settled in New Zealand, was an ideal upbringing for Peter Tinholt, Taura Natural Ingredients general manager, Asia Pacific.

"I grew up as a bit of an intrepid traveller," said Mr Tinholt, who was 13 when the family settled in Havelock North, where he spent his teens, and found they loved New Zealand. His current role running the innovative Mount Maunganui-based food ingredients company Taura gives him the best of both worlds.

"Taura is Tauranga-created and now has a factory in Belgium and is an international food ingredients company," he said. "Having been born into a travelling family, I enjoy being able to live in Tauranga, but work internationally."

"I travel a lot."


Mr Tinholt did his degree at the University of Waikato, but unusually for a future businessman, studied politics, geography and sociology, including international relations, with a focus on developing world issues.

"I didn't really know what I wanted to do and these courses suited my international background," he said.

Tempted by the "amazing" training packages offered to sales representatives in the pharmaceutical business he spent four years in the industry, rising rapidly to a national sales manager role with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Cilag. With the regulatory changes that resulted in government becoming involved in price-setting for medicines, Mr Tinholt switched to consumer durables and became national sales manager for what became Electrolux Home Products.

ANOTHER career shift saw him join the food ingredients industry and brought him into contact with a key mentor, Rick Carlyon, who created the successful Mother Earth brand.

Mr Tinholt moved to Melbourne to run the Mother Earth Australia operations, then stayed on as integration manager when Mr Carlyon and his business partner Thane Smith sold Mother Earth to global confectionery giant Cadbury in 2000. The partners then bought Delmaine Fine Foods.

"Peter is a very driven, hardworking man who is very good at what he does," said Mr Carlyon, Delmaine's managing director. "He has great people skills and strong networking ability."

When Delmaine acquired Tauranga company Newmans Quality Foods, Mr Carlyon recruited Mr Tinholt to run it. He eventually became chief executive when that company first morphed into Allberry House, a food ingredients company, then became part of Delmaine. The company had previously been split off from Taura, and when Delmaine relocated its Tauranga operations to Auckland, Mr Tinholt was offered this current role.

"When Delmaine moved to Auckland, Peter decided Tauranga was better for him and his family," said Mr Carlyon. "He has a strong commitment to the Bay of Plenty."


Mr Tinholt said despite the range of business sectors he had been involved with, the key components remained the same.

"Most business is about selling more, so the challenges have been quite similar," he said. "In the food ingredient business, it's a technical sell to both marketers and food product development teams on the value our products could offer them."

Mr Tinholt said his strength in sales and marketing had been developed at an early age, working as a part-time assistant throughout his teens for a sports retailer in Havelock North. "It was my first paying job and I learned a lot about how to sell from the guy I worked for."

At Taura, he had an outstanding, long-serving and loyal team.

"I've been very fortunate," he said.

Duo will share top award

Taura Natural Ingredients general manager, Asia Pacific, Peter Tinholt and Maria Stockman, business manager of Hearing Life New Zealand, have been jointly named to share the Tauranga Institute of Directors' Aspiring Director Award.

They will receive complimentary membership of the institute for 12 months, complimentary attendance at all branch functions for 12 months, mentoring with an experienced director, funds towards personal development tailored to suit their needs, and a directorship position for six months on the boards of sponsors the Acorn Foundation and the Bay Trust.

"The level of applicants this year was extremely high," said branch manager Jo Perry. "We have been amazed by the calibre and standard of local talent from around the Bay of Plenty."

Deryck Shaw, one of the judges, said the panel had been unable to choose one winner because both were equally deserving.

"The winners are both highly skilled, showed excellent leadership and communications skills, and the judges believed that they will make a difference to any entity they are involved with," he said.

The other three finalists were Kevin Atkinson, Generation Homes, Glenn Williams, Dollar Value (2009) Ltd, and Will Samuel, Taupo District Council.

Taura Natural Ingredients

Taura developed its proprietary URC (ultra rapid concentration) dehydration process in the 1990s, which concentrates fruit purees into pieces, flakes and pastes that go into the snack and cereal offerings of major global food companies. It also develops products with multinational brands. The company exports about 70 per cent of its New Zealand production and has about 60 local staff. Taura evolved out of a citrus co-op and is now majority owned by Australian private equity firm CHAMP Ventures. Taura has sales and manufacturing operations in New Zealand (for Asia-Pacific), Belgium (for Europe) and a sales operation in Virginia, US (for North America).