Two businesses that started in backyard sheds showcased their success at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek last week.

GPS-it is a specialist mapping company that grew out of an orchard shed in Te Puke 13 years ago.

Managing director Matt Flowerday says the business has punched above its weight securing contracts with Fonterra and Zespri. Business has increased tenfold since its conception.

He estimates the company has mapped close to 90 per cent of kiwifruit orchards and would survey at least 800 orchards a year. The dairy and kiwifruit projects were similar size ventures, Flowerday says.


"We do a lot of auditing work for Zespri with all the new plantings that are going on with G3, G14 and G9. There are a lot of changes that go on in orchards as they pull shelters out and change their blocks around and structure types."

The hard graft had also been put in to secure Fonterra three years ago. "We pitched the concept to them, put in a tender and we were successful. It has certainly been a lot of hard work to get it going and deliver on it but it's been good for us."

GPS-it now has an office on Cameron Rd in Tauranga and employs seven staff.

The Fieldays is an important calendar event, says Flowerday.

"It's a great opportunity to get in front of farmers and release new products." Grandpa's Feeders began 20 years ago at Whakamarama when Mark Kirkham's father, Bill, got sick of rodents and sparrows stealing all the chook tucker. He invented a galvanised steel feeder that opens when a chicken stands on it.

The creation was never supposed to be a commercial enterprise but the concept took off, Kirkham says. "It just started off as a solution for his own problems and he never set out to do it commercially, which I suppose is how these small things start."

Kirkham joined the business a decade ago and it has gone from strength to strength with export markets in Australia, Britain and the US. On average Grandpa's Feeders sells 6000 units a year.

The Mystery Creek Fieldays are unique, he says.

"This will be our 16th year at Mystery Creek. I have done shows up and down New Zealand and overseas but there is nothing else like it.

"It's a lot of work for us as you are going from dark-to-dark over four days but it's such a big affair. The event is huge we usually sell over 200 feeders, which was double the number of other shows."