Our History

The Hewetson family has been doing business in New Zealand since the first settlers walked the shores of Aotearoa.

Joseph Hewetson brought his wife and son Thomas out from England aboard the New Zealand Company’s ship, Olympus, in a journey that lasted over 5 months. They landed in Nelson on 28th October 1842, planting the roots of determination to succeed that would emanate through generations to come.

Most families who emigrated from England were employed to help build roads, however after the New Zealand Company stopped paying them, they were forced to either return to another settlement (such as Australia), or persevere in the harsh New Zealand bush. Joseph and his young family chose to stay and try to survive by farming the flax ridden New Zealand land, and learnt to live off the bush along with the native Maori’s.

In 1870 Thomas and Joseph Jnr started their first business in partnership with Joseph Jnr’s brother in law – a Flax and Timber mill. This was following a trip Thomas took back to England where he gained knowledge in these trades from his English relatives. Due to his experience in the Moutere settlement, Thomas also headed an expedition to help settle the Wellsford and Warkworth areas at the young age of 28, this was known as ‘The Albert Land Expedition.’

The Hewetson family went on throughout the late 19th and early 20th century continuing to farm the land, and operating a successful flour mill, flax mill and saw mill; eventually moving wholly into farming in the 1950’s as farming became more lucrative in the post war era.

By the early 1980’s, farming had suffered various setbacks, and following advice, Mark Hewetson purchased Motueka Lumber Company then still in it’s infancy, as a sideline to farming. In 2014, to better reflect its growing staff and product range, Motueka Lumber Company started trading as MLC Group.

Today MLC Group has 7th generation family members employed in the business. The company has grown to over 80 staff and has trading connections with 7 countries.

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