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He married Miss Jane Brown who came to New Zealand in the ship "William Miles" in 1861. Later he moved to North Loburn, Canterbury, and first started in the flax industry at Mt Thomas with two of his sons. Soon afterwards the flax market declined and he went back to farming until he retired to live in Rangiora.

Six of the Seifert brothers, Herman, George, Fred, Alfred, Louis and Walter, were all actively engaged in the flaxdressing industry. The seventh son, Robert, died in South America. In 1906 it was mentioned that an estimated 15 per cent of the total hemp output of New Zealand was produced under the Seiferts' name.

Alfred Seifert was born in North Loburn in 1877 and was the fourth son. He was educated at the public school and after a short time spent in farming, he joined his brothers in a flaxmill near Westport. In 1894 he joined his eldest brother, Mr Herman Seifert, in a flaxmill near Lake Wanaka. He moved to the North Island in 1898 and in May of that year joined his brothers George and Frederick Seifert in owning a mill by the Oroua bridge. The firm soon took over another mill on Aker's property.

The partnership was dissolved in 1899 and Alfred started a mill of his own on the Heaton Park estate. In the same year he married Miss Esther Blondell of Winton, Southland.

He became managing director of the A and L Seifert Flaxdressing Co ("Miranui") in 1906 and remained so until 1926 when the company was sold to Miranui Ltd. He carried out many experiments on the flax plants to improve their quality and yield.

In later years he was engaged in farming and potato growing and was chairman of the Potato Growers' Association for several years. Among the other offices he held was that of President of the New Zealand Flaxmillers' Association, he was a member of the Palmerston North City Council for two terms, chairman of the Makerua Drainage Board for some years and a member for 25 years. The Manawatu Oroua River Board also claimed his interest as did the Horowhenua Electric Power Board of which he was a member since its inception in 1923. He was one of the founders of the Manawatu Daily Times and held the position of chairman of directors.

He was an enthusiastic golf player and was chairman of the New Zealand Golf Council's Research Committee, a member of the Palmerston North Young Men's Literary and Debating Society and a former Palmerston North Rotary Club member.

He died at Palmerston North on August llth, 1945, aged 68, after a short illness. A flaxmill owner at 21, head of the largest flaxmill in New Zealand at 29, this was the calibre of the man who conceived "Miranui."

Louis Seifert was also born in North Loburn and entered the flaxmilling industry in the Rangitikei district. He operated two mills there until he sold them and went to England and America. On his return he bought a mill at Rangitane near the Oroua bridge and built two other mills after having acquired a considerable area of flaxbearing land. He employed 60 men at these mills.

He became a director of the A & L Seifert Flaxdressing company and when his brother Alfred was away on business he took over the running of the mill. He also set up an experimental flax cultivation scheme in Queensland, Australia.

He died in 1953 after a lingering illness.


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Miranui - The story of New Zealand's largest flax mill - page 7


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