NZ’s top 40 Co-operatives based on 2017/18 revenues
|Top 40 Co-ops, 2017/18 Revenues||NZ$|
|2||Foodstuffs North Island||6,640,000,000|
|3||Foodstuffs South Island||3,071,000,000|
|6||Silver Fern Farms||2,200,000,000|
|8||Southern Cross Healthcare||987,000,000|
|10||Mitre 10 (NZ)||850,000,000|
|12||Westland Milk Products||692,000,000|
|15||Independent Timber Merchants||515,000,000|
|17||Tatua Cooperative Dairy Co||357,000,000|
|19||Farmers Mutual Group||283,000,000|
|20||Livestock Improvement Corp||236,000,000|
|24||Dairy Goat Cooperative||193,000,000|
|25||The Co-operative Bank||155,000,000|
|27||Pharmacy Wholesalers (BOP)||138,683,000|
|28||Medical Assurance Society||124,494,000|
|32||Co-op Money NZ||29,144,000|
|35||The Organic Dairy Hub Co-op||25,000,000|
|37||Marlborough Grape Prod Group||24,390,000|
|38||First Credit Union||22,400,000|
|40||Fruitpackers Coop (Frupak)||15,175,000|
NZ’s top 40 co-operatives, mutuals and societies generated almost $NZ48.4 billion in revenues over their respective 2017/18 financial years, this equating to 16.0% of NZ’s GDP ($NZ302 billion in 2017 calendar year).
Data on 2017/18 revenues were gathered from annual reports and/or financial statements published by the organisations. These were retrieved from the NZ Companies Office register or from the organisations’ various websites. Where annual reports or financial statements were not publically available, the information was sourced by contacting the organisations directly. There is some variability in the reporting with revenue for retail / wholesale co-operatives, which represent a B:B co-operative business model, reflecting the total value of purchases made by respective Members (ie. retail stores) from their parent company buying offices, and not the sum of the revenues of the stores themselves, eg. Mitre 10, ITM, BuildLink, World Travellers and Composite Retail.
NZ’s top 30 Co-operatives based on 2014/15 revenues
|Rank||Co-operative||Revenue (in Millions)|
|1.||Fonterra Co-operative Group||18,845.0|
|2.||Foodstuffs - North Island||6,238.8|
|3.||Foodstuffs - South Island||2,721.3|
|4.||Silver Fern Farms||2,434.4|
|9.||Southern Cross Medical Care Society||817.8|
|10.||Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative||711.4|
|11.||Mitre 10 (New Zealand)||708.6|
|12.||Westland Co-operative Dairy Co||639.3|
|13.||Independent Timber Merchants Co-operative||398.0|
|16.||Tatua Co-operative Dairy Co||285.7|
|18.||Livestock Improvement Corporation||228.4|
|19.||FMG (FMG Insurance Limited)||209.3|
|20.||Southland Building Society (SBS Bank)||183.3|
|22.||Dairy Goat Cooperative (NZ)||156.7|
|24.||Pharmacy Wholesalers (Bay of Plenty)||132.9|
|25.||Ashburton Trading Society||119.4|
|26.||The Co-operative Bank||110.7|
|27.||Union Medical Benefits Society||52.7|
|29.||Medical Assurance Society||32.7|
|30.||Co-op Money NZ||24.7|
Total Revenue = $NZ 42.354 billion pa.Notes - Organisations were drawn from the 2015 Top 40 Co-operatives and Mutuals by revenue published by Cooperative Business New Zealand and who meet the member/user ownership, control and benefits criteria elaborated on in the methodology. We except this definition excludes some organisations that operate as co-operatives or mutuals in other countries but not in New Zealand since in these instances ownership, control and benefits accrue to the overseas members (e.g. Rabobank). Data on revenue was gathered from annual reports and/or financial statements published by the organisations. These were retrieved from the NZ Companies Office register or from the organisations’ websites. Where annual reports or financial statements were not publically available, the information was sourced by contacting the organisations directly. The reporting period considered was 2014/2015. However, there is some variability in the reporting period/financial year among the co-operatives and mutuals. Revenue for Capricorn Society Limited in New Zealand and Independent Timber Merchants Co-operative are not the revenue figures reported on the Profit and Loss statements. The figures represent the total value of purchases made by respective Members (e.g. retail stores) from their parent company buying offices.
|Rank||Co-operative||Total Assets (in Millions)|
|1.||Fonterra Co-operative Group||18,315.0|
|2.||Southland Building Society (SBS Bank)||2,862.6|
|3.||Foodstuffs - North Island||2,645.6|
|4.||The Co-operative Bank||1,806.3|
|5.||Foodstuffs South Island||1,010.5|
|6.||Silver Fern Farms||627.0|
|7.||Southern Cross Medical Care Society||602.1|
|9.||Westland Co-operative Dairy Co||538.1|
|11.||Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative||533.2|
|13.||FMG (FMG Insurance Limited)||419.1|
|15.||Livestock Improvement Corporation||301.5|
|17.||Tatua Co-operative Dairy Co||241.4|
|18.||Dairy Goat Co-operative (NZ)||232.3|
|20.||Mitre 10 (New Zealand)||174.8|
|22.||Co-op Money NZ||115.9|
|23.||Union Medical Benefits Society||112.7|
|25.||Medical Assurance Society||85.5|
|26.||Independent Timber Merchants Co-operative||68.5|
|29.||Ashburton Trading Society||31.3|
|30.||Pharmacy Wholesalers (Bay of Plenty)||22.4|
Total Assets = $ NZ 33,477.7 billionNotes - Data on total assets was gathered from annual reports and/or financial statements published by the organisations. These were retrieved from the NZ Companies Office register or from the organisations’ websites. Where annual reports or financial statements were not publically available, the information was sourced by contacting the organisations directly. The reporting period considered was 2014/2015. However, there is some variability in the reporting period/financial year among the co-operatives and mutuals.
|Rank||Co-operative||Number of Employees|
|1.||Fonterra Co-operative Group||22,000|
|2.||Silver Fern Farms||7,000|
|5.||Foodstuffs - North Island||1,800|
|6.||Foodstuffs South Island||1,350|
|9.||Southern Cross Medical Care Society||750|
|10.||Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative||750|
|11.||Mitre 10 (New Zealand)||750|
|12.||Livestock Improvement Corporation||710|
|14.||FMG (FMG Insurance Limited)||468|
|15.||Westland Co-operative Dairy Co||375|
|17.||Southland Building Society (SBS Bank)||350|
|18.||Tatua Co-operative Dairy Co||345|
|19.||The Co-operative Bank||310|
|22.||Dairy Goat Co-operative (NZ)||190|
|24.||Medical Assurance Society||175|
|26.||Ashburton Trading Society||90|
|27.||Co-op Money NZ||60|
|28.||Pharmacy Wholesalers (Bay of Plenty)||35|
|29.||Union Medical Benefits Society||35|
|30.||Independent Timber Merchants Co-operative||25|
Total Employees = 48,455Notes - Data on employees was sourced from annual reports and/or financial statements published by the organisations. These were retrieved from the NZ Companies Office register or from the organisations’ websites. Where data on employee numbers was not available from annual reports, the information was sourced from responses to the University of Auckland Icehouse survey or the Kompass database. Since the Kompass database provides a range for employee numbers, the midpoint of the range was used, and hence the data should be interpreted with caution. The reporting period considered was 2014/2015. However, there is some variability in the reporting period/financial year among the co-operatives and mutuals. Some data includes overseas employees
|Rank||Co-operative||Number of Memberships|
|1.||Southern Cross Medical Care Society||811,462|
|2.||Co-op Money NZ||190,000|
|3.||The Co-operative Bank||120,000|
|5.||FMG (FMG Insurance Limited)||52,000|
|6.||Southland Building Society (SBS Bank)||40,000|
|7.||Medical Assurance Society||28,000|
|8.||Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative||26,000|
|11.||Fonterra Co-operative Group||10,753|
|12.||Livestock Improvement Corporation||10,537|
|13.||Silver Fern Farms||6,000|
|17.||Ashburton Trading Society||2,701|
|19.||Foodstuffs South Island||500|
|21.||Foodstuffs - North Island||433|
|22.||Westland Co-operative Dairy Co||400|
|25.||Pharmacy Wholesalers (Bay of Plenty)||170|
|26.||Tatua Co-operative Dairy Co||118|
|27.||Independent Timber Merchants Co-operative||94|
|28.||Dairy Goat Co-operative (NZ)||72|
|29.||Mitre 10 (New Zealand)||65|
|30.||Union Medical Benefits Society|
Total Members = 1,407,507Notes- Data was sourced from annual reports and/or financial statements published by the organisations. These were retrieved from the NZ Companies Office register or from the organisations’ websites. Where data on membership numbers was not available from annual reports or organisations websites, it was supplied by Cooperative Business New Zealand or sourced from responses to the University of Auckland Icehouse survey. These are counts of memberships. We recognise that some members will belong to more than one co-operative or mutual that is listed. Data on individual members is not publicly available to report the number of individual members. The reporting period considered was 2014/2015. However, there is some variability in the reporting period/financial year among the co-operatives and mutuals.
New Zealand’s earliest co-operatives
To the best of our knowledge, Nelson Building Society was the first co-operative (and building society) established in New Zealand – in 1864.
Established in 1869 in Southland, SBS Bank (pictured, below left) is believed to be the first building society in the world to have achieved bank registration while retaining its mutual structure. In 147 years, the ‘member bank’ has sustained mutual trust, mutual benefits and mutual respect. Read our Member Profile.
New Zealand’s first recorded producer co-operative was formed in 1871.
While attempts to set up consumer co-operatives have been recorded as early as the 1840s, the earliest record of a producer co-operative in New Zealand reports the formation of the Otago Cooperative Cheese Co. at John Mathieson’s Springfield farm on the Otago Peninsula, near Dunedin, on 22 August 1871. Please refer to photo bottom right.
Each of the eight dairy farmers purchased shares based on the amount of milk to be supplied, with each share having a value of £1 and representing the supply of ten quarts of milk.
Three enamelled cast-iron tubs, each holding up to 50 pounds of curd, were set in the kitchen wing, while a wooden vat holding 100 gallons of milk was installed in the stone-walled barn across the driveway. By the end of the first season, they had produced three tons of cheese.
This pioneering co-op is now part of dairy giant, Fonterra Co-operative Group.
According to the Historic Places Trust, this was most likely the first co-operative dairy factory in the southern hemisphere, preceded only by those in Norway and Switzerland.
By 1900, there were 111 co-operatives operating within the NZ dairy industry and 152 investor-owned companies.
The general principles adopted by this co-operative were typical of those which have prevailed in co-operative societies and companies through to the present day.