Our Story

A Loaf Affair in the Heart of the Wairarapa

Drive over the winding Remutaka road from Wellington, and soon you’re into the heart of rural New Zealand, the beautiful Wairarapa. This region has been farmed by generations of New Zealanders, famous once just for sheep, now known across the civilised world for its award-winning wine and cuisine, including our bread.

Masterton
Born and Bread

Take a moment to stop and stretch your legs in the town of Masterton. We won’t call it a metropolis, but it’s thriving all the same. The home to 25,200 residents at the last count, and over 100 of us earn a crust crafting brilliant bread at  Breadcraft. A bold little bakery that opened its doors just after the start of the second world war.

See that wee boy on the left of this photo? He grew up to become an owner of Breadcraft. More about John Cockburn soon.

We Worked Hard, Used Our Loaf and Grew

In 1968 Breadcraft teamed up with eight other bakeries and formed Quality Bakers (NZ) Ltd. Breadcraft still provides products to the group under famous household brand names like Quality Bakers, Molenberg, Vogel’s, Mackenzie, and heaps more... but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

IT WAS IN THE 1940s...
...WHEN OUR SOURDOUGH BUG WAS BORN
Breadcraft was one of the first bakeries to offer European artisan loaves, such as Ciabatta and Sourdough, to Kiwis across the country. To create the perfect Sourdough loaf we needed a 'bug', a living fermented culture of flour and water. To find a truly authentic bug, we went to great lengths - over 10,000 kilometers.

In 2006 one of our owners, John Cockburn, jumped on a plane bound for San Francisco. He brought back a sourdough bug from a family-run bakery dating back to the late 1800s. The bug itself was a strain that had been in the family since the 1940s. So, our bug will soon be celebrating its 80th birthday.

A Third Generation Business

Breadcraft was founded in 1942 by Harold Cockburn who ran the business until 1970 when he handed it over to his son Bob. In 2003, John and Julie-Anne Cockburn, along with Peter Rewi headed up Breadcraft, before Peter retired in 2018.

The next generation is already primed. Mitch, who is John and Julie-Anne’s oldest son, will be completing his bakery apprenticeship ready to take over the family firm when the time comes. Their daughter, Siena, is still in high school, but we think there's a fair chance she'll be following in the family footsteps.

Breadcraft of The Future

We’re proud of our history, and excited about what’s coming next. Everyone at Breadcraft believes that we can do better today than yesterday and make a difference to the world. For instance, our Future Foods program focuses on local sourcing, alternative proteins, New Zealand-grown wheat and more. We have the know-how to blend taste, nutrition and sustainability, and the insight to anticipate food trends early on, and take leadership.