In its 66-year history, the Norske Skog Tasman Mill at Kawerau has provided intergenerational employment.
Today, the mill's last paper machine was shut down for good and 160 staff have been made redundant.
The mill is the victim of a declining newspaper market, high electricity prices, and being undercut by mills in China that are subsidised by their Government.
Staff working out their final days at the mill were optimistic about the future and said they were grateful for what the mill had provided to them and their whanau throughout its history.
D-Crew shift manager Jim Spalding has been employed by Norske Skog for 38 years, both in the Tasman Mill and over the ditch in Australia.
He said he had loved his time working with the crew in Kawerau and had enjoyed working alongside them to solve problems and meet the challenges that came with running a paper machine.
The D-Crew are a tight-knit bunch and Spalding expects those friendships will continue despite the closure of the mill.
Spalding has fond memories of Christmas functions in which D-Crew chartered fishing boats and then gathered at team-member Tuwhakairiora (Tu) O'Brien's house to cook up their catch for the men's families.
"They have been a great bunch of guys to work with," Spalding said.
He said in the past few years money hadn't been spent on the mill and staff had seen the "decay setting in".
"Capital wasn't being injected into the place so we could see the writing on the wall."
Despite the rough days, Spalding said the team was trying to stay upbeat.
"I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had here over the years," he said.
"There's been a lot of great people and good friends. It's been a great career."
Spalding said he was one of the fortunate ones and had found another job to go to.
Machine tender Tuwhakairiora (Tu) O'Brien did his apprenticeship with Norske Skog and has been employed by the company for 26 years.
He followed in his father's footsteps, who was also employed at the mill.
"It hasn't changed much, but they have provided for our families," O'Brien said.
"My father worked here; a lot of the families around here have all worked here. The place has been good to us, and we have been fortunate that it's hung on this long.
"It's sad to see it closing but I think about what this place has done for us over the years and I'm grateful for that."
O'Brien said the mill had upheld its promise to Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau, the iwi who provided their land to the mill. The relationship was facilitated by kaumatua Reverend Arapeta Hoani TeRire and kuia Mihiwai Te Kaawa TeRire.
As well as providing employment, the mill has provided grants and scholarships to the local community.
Kawerau township was built to service the mills in the area and Norske Skog was instrumental in constructing Rautahi Marae to ensure the men and their families who moved to the new town had somewhere to call their own.
Rautahi means "many into one" and was designed to give each person their turangawaewae (a place to stand) and to feel at home.
O'Brien is looking at the closure of the mill in a positive light and said it represented a new beginning or new chapter.
"We've been strong in times of adversity before, so we are continuing to think positively," he said.
"They've provided me with a trade and that's something you can fall back on for the rest of your life.
"You have to laugh in the face of adversity and get on with it. I haven't heard the guys laugh so much in the last couple of days, that is how we're dealing with it."
O'Brien is grateful for the friendships he has made along the way.
"We've had some really good leaders and this guy here (Spalding) hasn't just been our boss, he's been a friend," he said.
"We're part of a family here."
At 74 years old, Reita "Shorty" Shortland is the mill's oldest kaimahi. He's also the longest-serving, coming up 55 years next month.
After a brief stint as a jockey, Shortland started at the mill when he was 20 years old.
Most of that time Shortland has worked in the storeroom. When he started there were 36 people in the storeroom, now it's just him.
"During that time, this place used to rock," he said.
Shortland said management during his time at the mill was good, as was the money.
"I brought my family up over the years working in this mill," he said.
"The good memories I have are of the Christmas celebrations. The company used to have a get-together for the whole mill and our families. Those were the days."
The closure of the mill is good timing for Shortland as he's ready to retire. But he feels for the younger staff with families and mortgages to cover.
Shortland was asked to say a karakia when the mill shut its machines down for the last time.
"The mill has been good to all its staff over the years," said Shortland.
On July 17, the mill will put on an event for the wider community to say goodbye.
It will be held in the Kawerau Town Hall and will feature photos from the mill's history as well as a special publication printed by its long-time customer The Beacon.
Mata Brewery will also be there with bottles of its special K-Town Draft.