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John epitomises our ‘do it yourself’ attitude and has successfully run a wide variety of businesses over the past 40+ years ranging from export marketing and manufacturing to dairy farming, kiwifruit and now Sabre Construction.  

His Dutch heritage (and 15 hour days milking 2000 cows in the central plateau), has created an exceptional work ethic and a desire to always be challenged and learn as much as possible from those around him. John loves the thrill of starting a new business and always treats people with kindness and respect. If your car has broken down in traffic, he’s the guy who will always stop and help you. John also has a gift for watching someone else perform a task, and then being able to do it himself – a trait he has usefully passed onto his own children.  

He began working on a building site at age 16 following a motorcycle accident. He was advised to get “a good physical job” to rehabilitate his leg and 18 months later was promoted to leading hand foreman on a job with 35 staff. His natural talent for leadership and ability on the tools was obvious from the beginning.  

John then worked in the construction industry overseas for several years before returning home. In the early 1990s he went dairy farming with his wife and young family near Reporoa and subsequently got into kiwifruit in the Bay of Plenty. When the Psa crisis hit in 2010, John and a group of investors owned eight orchards spanning 48 canopy hectors. They collectively decided to cut their losses, and John teamed up with his son-in-law, Adam, to develop and manufacture orchard infrastructure instead.