Major new distribution centre opens at Ruakura Superhub

6 September 2023

Hamilton, New Zealand – Tainui Group Holdings (TGH), the developers of the Ruakura Superhub, today marked the official opening of a new North Island distribution centre for major Australasian retailer – Kmart – the Superhub’s largest occupier to date.

TGH Chair, Hinerangi Raumati said the opening of the huge facility for Kmart marks out the Ruakura Superhub as ‘business ready’ after four years of intensive development and construction for the 92ha first stage of the 490ha Ruakura Superhub.

“Kmart's commitment to Ruakura is a real boost to the Hamilton and Waikato economies. It’s a major statement of confidence in our region as a distribution and logistics centre. It has provided certainty of work for many dozens of trades and sub-trades through the pandemic recovery period and there’s been strong interest from Waikato-Tainui members and the local community in the more than 100 new jobs at Kmart,” says Ms Raumati.

“The recent opening of the 9ha inland port and now the opening of this 40,000 sqm facility symbolise our vision for the Ruakura Superhub to bring benefits to our iwi, community and the country as a whole for generations to come,” she says.

The extensive facility on a 9ha lot, will serve as a strategic hub for Kmart’s North Island operations and beyond, succeeding the existing site in Wiri, South Auckland. It includes warehousing, distribution, storage, a container yard, and office facility.  Operating alongside its Christchurch counterpart, the two distribution centres will supply 26 Kmart stores across New Zealand. Kmart has taken a long-term lease from TGH on the facility and Waikato-Tainui will continue to own the underlying whenua.

TGH Chief Executive Chris Joblin said delivery of the facility to Kmart was a big step towards the shared goal of both companies to ensure a highly efficient and connected supply chain.

“Notably, the Kmart centre’s prime position grants access to the Ruakura Inland Port, forging an eco-friendly connection to the Port of Tauranga and MetroPort in Auckland via rail freight transport lines – offering transport efficiencies and a lower environmental impact,” says Mr Joblin.

Kmart Chief Executive Officer, John Gualtieri says the new distribution centre will help Kmart keep its customers front and centre in its operations and maintain an edge in the competitive New Zealand retail market.

“This purpose-built facility at Ruakura Superhub will allow us to improve availability for customers through improved productivity, reliable flow of stock to stores and diversifying how goods are shipped to ensure they always get through. With this level of investment into scale, technology, and automation, we are also future proofing to grow our business and forge a lasting bond with New Zealand’s vibrant communities in the years ahead,” says Mr Gualtieri.

Last month, TGH marked the first goods trains to call at the adjacent 9ha Ruakura Inland Port, served by two 800m rail sidings offering seamless rail connections to the Port of Tauranga and MetroPort in Auckland. These ports are currently served by around 85 train services per week, and call ins at the Ruakura Inland Port will be scaled to meet demand.

Sustainability is built into the new distribution centre from construction materials and practices to design and operation features, including solar panels generating up to 300kW of power, rainwater harvesting, onsite stormwater treatment, as well as electronic vehicle charging stations, bike racks and end of trip facilities for kaimahi. The centre’s structure will also include low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, LED lighting, double glazing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems that use low emission refrigerants, and close to 20 per cent of the overall site is landscaped with extensive plantings.