The Genia Story
A Pioneering Family
October 28th 1842 the 500 tonne Olympus docked in Nelson, introducing new immigrants to New Zealand. Among them was 37-year-old Thomas Hewetson, accompanied by his wife and child, ready to create a new life.
Thomas settled in the Moutere Valley near Motueka and like most inland settlers took to farming.
By 1870 Thomas and his next generation had established a sawmilling venture on a corner of the farm. This was the start of the Hewetson Family’s long association with timber processing.
Acquisition of Motueka Lumber
In 1993 the family was focused on farming with the last of 4 boys about to enter the workforce the next generation was well on the way. The Hewetson’s needed to diversify to sustain the expanding family.
In 1993 Mark Hewetson, the eldest son, purchased Motueka Lumber, a small operation on the edge of Motueka, manufacturing pickets and timber componentry. Under new management the company shifted it’s focus to processing low grade sawn timber into high value products.
The mid 90’s were turbulent times in the sawmilling industry, a large volume of New Zealand’s log harvest was being exported to China and timber shortages were rife.
Under Mark’s guidance the business diversified, increasing its product offering. As log shortages eased the company underwent it’s first growth spurt as it focused on innovation and technology to gain a competitive edge.
Mark was joined by his three brothers over the next few years, followed by his own sons and daughter in the mid 2000’s.
Introduction of MLC Group
In 2014 the company became MLC Group. In his 28 year tenure at MLC Group, Mark Hewetson says he has seen businesses in the industry exiting at what he thought was a rate of one a quarter – a staggering statistic. But after more analysis he says the rate is actually much higher.
MLC Group has ridden its own share of the troughs and hollows – yet has thrived – embracing technology and expanding its talent pool to stay in the game.
In June 2021, 150 years after the first log was cut in a Hewetson-owned sawmill, Mark’s son Harvey – a 5th generation family member and now Managing Director introduced MLC Group’s team of 120 to a new journey the company would embark on.
“Our history shapes our future and as we step into the next phase of our business, MLC Group has an exciting new name, new logo and new look.
“We are Genia, the same great team, shifting gears.”
Why now, why change?
Head of Marketing, Moses Hewetson says that the rebranding process has been his life for the last 18 months. “We felt we needed to change, to accurately reflect who we are and where we are going. We have a long history spanning generations and have evolved since MLC Group was born.”
The evolution of the company across both products and markets is a reflection on our commitment to add value. From the earliest partnership exporting fence pickets to Australia so much has been achieved.
We have set the industry benchmark for reliable supply to New Zealand hardware and DIY retailers, with constant product innovation succeeding in segments from timber garden edging to premium trellis screens and panels.
We have become the backbone for some of New Zealand’s leading manufacturers, supplying timber componentry for use in their own production lines. Providing solutions to complex logistical and product challenges, creating strong partnerships that have stood the test of time.
We have become a trusted supplier of mouldings to multiple south-east Asia markets, supporting our partners with a collaborative approach creating and growing a market for premium New Zealand Pine Mouldings.
And finally more recently, we have launched into the New Zealand architecture & design sector with a range of architectural linings. Working closely with leading designers and architectural firms to introduce unique texture to interiors with sustainably sourced timber.
Just as we have evolved as a company the evolution of our brand to Genia symbolises who we have become and who we yet aspire to be.
Whilst living our values we have grown as individuals and as a company, this change reflects our growth and inspires us onward to future success.
We have consulted with branding experts, key stakeholders, family and employees, to be sure this next step in our evolution will not only benefit our customers, but give our people a clear direction.
Our new brand is underpinned by 3 key pillars.
Genia Outdoor – Exterior timber products that compliment and improve your home, giving it natural appeal and character.
Genia Componentry – Functional and practical timber components designed with purpose and underpinned by quality supply chain partnerships.
Genia Architectural – Enhancing interior architectural details through creativity; design meets functionality.
When Harvey addressed the key stakeholders and employees his 2 year old son was beside him on stage, his father (Mark Hewetson, Director) was preparing the next speech and his Grandfather was in the audience.
Genia is a Greek word Γενιά (Geniá) translating to “Generation”. The generation shift in the company is clear but Genia means much more than that to us.
Genia represents our long history with timber, the generations of the past, the experience gained and passed on.
Genia represents the new generation of people, our current team and the motivation to grow and build on what we have.
Genia represents our future, our desire to succeed beyond our own generation the aspiration to build partnerships that stand through time.
The meaning behind our identity
The Genia logo is a representation of the three pillars of the business, Outdoor, Architectural and Componentry. It represents our renewed focus and dedication to build on and innovate in these segments.
Each component abstractly represents our wide range of products, services and process. Our tagline has been chosen to reflect on our history and experience it brings.
Our company values have, and continue to underpin everything we do including our new brand.
Customers & Suppliers
Products & Processes
People & Communities
Excellence in Execution
Keeping our word
Doing it when we say
Right first time
A spirit of teamwork
Doing things better
Innovation in production
Innovation in service delivery
Innovation in collaboration
What this means for you.
Genia is an exciting step for us, a step we believe will strengthen our relationships with customers, suppliers and partners. As Genia, we are focused on growth and success, we want all of our partners to share and benefit.
We will have an emphasis on building value through focused ranges of products & services to align with our brand. Our product ranges will be designed to grow and add value to our partners.
A consolidation of our sub-brands to Genia’s brand will occur over time. This will strengthen consumer awareness of our brand and quality of product. We will become a strong recognisable brand to drive growth and customer satisfaction for ourselves and our partners.
We will continue to lift our game and dedication to being your reliable supply partner.
Our values remain the same, Adding Value to you, your business and your processes is at the heart of what we do.
We are here to stay, our new brand is the next step in the evolution of our company.
The roll out of our new brand will occur over the coming months. It will be a gradual process, starting with our communication and moving through to product packaging and merchandise. From Monday the 5th of July, MLC Group will become Genia.
Our legal company name is not changing, we will be MLC Group Limited trading as Genia.
For us, this is more than just a new look, Genia is a commitment to continue redefining what it means to be a reliable innovative partner.
We are excited to have you on the journey with us.
Questions you may have
Has the company changed ownership?
No our ownership has not changed at all, we are still 100% family owned and operated.
Do I need to update our legal agreements?
You should not need to change any legal agreements due to our legal entity remaining as MLC Group but double check with your legal advisors.
Should I change your name in our system?
Yes, please do!
When does the new name go live?
The new name is live from Monday the 5th of July 2021
Will you be changing your product packaging and brochures?
Yes our product packaging will change over time.
What happens to your existing brands – Motueka Pickets & Get Growing?
They will remain as they are for the short term, over time they will be consolidated under the Genia brand.
Will your emails change?
Yes all our email addresses will be updated, however our old email addresses will continue to work.
Is the team different?
No. The team is exactly the same.
Who will your invoices be from?
Our invoices will be from MLC Group, trading as Genia
Who should I be now invoicing?
MLC Group, trading as Genia