The King family involvement in the seafood industry dates back to the 1920’s with Grandad William King fishing out of the Chaslands after beginning work in a local sawmill. Boats called Seabird, Eclipse, Rita and Albatross were fished. During a storm in 1922 the Rita and Albatross were wrecked, after slipping their moorings, on what is still known as King’s rock.
The family then moved to Mataura where William operated a small fish shop and travelled around the local area selling fish from a horse and cart, until a model T Ford was purchased.
1928 saw a move to Gore to a fish shop on the main street with Grandma King operating a restaurant next door. It was so popular a sign in the dining room stated “When finished please make room for others”!! The shops were sold in 1944.
Son Syd then opened a restaurant on Dee Street, Invercargill, after his return from war, and did so well he opened another on Tay Street calling it the Kiwi. Brother Charlie managed then purchased the Kiwi renaming it King’s Restaurant, it became very popular and he ran it for 23 years. Though not in family hands, it still operates today.
During this time another brother Bill became involved in the King’s Restaurant business and began processing a wide variety of seafood until the building became too small and they built a factory on Otepuni Avenue. From this building exporting of Lamb, Beef, Venison was achieved and they were the first to vacuum pack prime cuts of meat for export.
A smallgoods factory was purchased in the mid 1960’s and all small goods and fish processing were transferred to this site. This site remains the home of Kings Fishmarket today. The meat processing plant and business in Otepuni Ave was sold to an American company and Bill bought the shares of the fish processing from Charlie and began specializing in seafood. Over the years the business has grown from wholesaling, retailing, smoking and a return to Fish and Chip meals.
Recent factory extensions are now home to new specialist Salmon processing equipment. World class Hot and Cold Smoked Salmon products are now enjoyed by a growing client base which includes our retail store, supermarkets, distributors and restaurants.
In keeping with the King brothers tradition Bill’s sons Greg and Stephen now run the business.