A chocolate career

It’s not hard to see why Margaret Walker and Carole Davies think their jobs are pretty sweet, after celebrating 50 years working for NZ Cadbury last week.

Rewarded for their dedication with a makeover, a special lunch with old workmates, and a night in a swanky hotel, Walker and Davies were feeling “very spoiled.

Walker started working in the flakes department at Griffins and Sons in 1959, in NZ’s Grey Lynn when the company still made breakfast cereal.

She then moved on to the marshmallow department at the Avondale-based factory in 1976, where she’s still based today.

“The marshmallows used to be beautifully big and fluffy and we’d cut them with an old guillotine,” she said.

She says there have been huge changes in the industry since she began all those years ago.

“When I first started it was all hand-packing and everything was wrapped in brown paper.

“Today it’s all automated machinery. It’s faster and can supply more.”

Now she helps run the staff shop, along with continuing to pack the sweets.

Davies started her working life as a packer at Sweetacres confectionery in the city, before moving to the Avondale factory when it opened in 1961.

She saw Sweetacres taken over by Griffins and then Cadbury in 1990, but she says they’ve always looked after their staff.

“They have been such a good company to work for and I like the work,” she explained.

At 66 years old, both women are looking at retirement when the Avondale factory closes later this year as confectionery productions move to Dunedin and Australia.

“It’ll be sad to see it shut,” Walker said. “I’ve worked with other ladies there for 25 and 30 years.”

Both women have plans to do charity work when their time at Cadbury is done.

Cadbury New Zealand managing director, Matthew Oldham, described the pair’s years of dedication to one company as “inspirational.”

“I, along with the whole team, have such pride, respect and admiration for Carole and Margaret’s hard work and commitment,” he said.

— Central Leader

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