Three barns and about 50,000 chickens being raised for Tegel Foods were lost in a fire that broke out at a farm in Henderson, New Zealand, near Auckland.

Emergency responders went to the scene around 1:30 a.m. on December 27. Upon arrival, three barns were already fully involved, so firefighting crews focused their efforts to protect a fourth barn and a nearby wooded area. Those efforts were successful.

“You’ve got a well-established fire in an area like this were there’s very limited water, so it was very tough,” Fire Service Henderson Senior Station Officer Jason Orchard told Radio New Zealand. “But to manage to save the one building, at least there’s one positive out of this.”

The chickens were being raised for Tegel Foods, New Zealand’s largest poultry company.


A cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but the situation was to be investigated once the scene cools off and it is safe to do so.

Tegel Foods holds a 50 percent market share for broiler chicken in New Zealand and a 90 percent market share for turkey, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database.

Tegel has breeder flocks, hatching, feed milling, slaughter, processing, further processing and cooking operations, all within New Zealand. In addition to its flagship brand Tegel, the company sells under the brands Rangitikei (corn-fed, free-range), Top Hat (processed meat products and sausages) and Pure New Zealand Premium Chicken (international). Tegel’s Golden Coast Commercial division sells day-old broilers and layers. Export markets include Australia, the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Earlier in 2018, the Overseas Investment Office approved Bounty Holdings New Zealand's unsolicited offer to acquire Tegel Foods. Tegel's board of directors recommended to its shareholders that the company's offer be accepted.