New standalone business springs from Crown Research Institute

12 July 2005

The Rotorua-based CRI now known as Scion announces the formation of Plant Protection Chemistry NZ Ltd (PPC NZ) as an independent research and development company.

PPC NZ has been functioning for many years as a science group within the CRI, specialising in the formulation and application of agrichemicals.

The establishment of PPC NZ as a standalone business comes as the result of a management buy-out initiated by the three senior staff within the business: Jerzy Zabkiewicz, Robyn Gaskin and Alison Forster.

Scion Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tom Richardson, says that the evolution of PPC NZ as a standalone company demonstrates how a Crown Research Institute can give rise to successful commercial businesses.

“While plant protection chemistry research started from a traditional base of research within the forestry sector, this group has successfully applied their pesticide formulation knowledge to benefit a range of other sectors,” he explains.

The formation of PPC NZ Ltd as an independent entity came as a result of an approach from the experienced, long-serving scientists and technical staff to manage their own research and development company.

A notable success for the PPC NZ team in the past was the development of a novel organosilicone additive that can reduce the amount of herbicide needed to treat an area, and which also degrades very rapidly in the environment.

This product was commercialised as “Pulse” by Monsanto in 1985, and New Zealand became a world leader in the use and application of this technology.

The product’s success, initiated in New Zealand, saw the creation of a global organosilicone market from nil to multi-million dollars globally, over several agriculture sectors.

Tailored chemical technologies of this kind have led to development by PPC NZ of designer additives called adjuvants, which are now used in a wide range of horticultural and agricultural crops.

“Due to the vision and commitment of core staff, PPC NZ are now recognised as world-leaders in agrichemical application, formulation and efficacy, and it is appropriate for them to forge ahead as a standalone business,” Dr Richardson says.

As PPC NZ continues to work with commercial clients in developing new chemical technologies, the business will continue to occupy the same premises on the Scion Group’s Te Papa Tipu site in Rotorua, employing the same personnel and providing mutual access to key scientific equipment.

“The Scion Group Board and Management fully endorse the management buy-out as a mutually desired and positive process, and wish the PPC NZ team every success,” Dr Richardson says.



The group started in 1975 as part of a search for better gorse herbicides for use in forestry. By 1980 they had developed a new, novel organosilicone additive that made the herbicide "Roundup" very effective against gorse and bracken, broom. The additive was commercialised in 1985 by Monsanto and sold under the brand "Pulse". This additive made it possible to use Roundup, which is considered as a safe chemical, in the forestry sector. The addition of Pulse also made it possible to use Escort, which has since become a major forestry herbicide.

These successes have seen organosilicone adopted globally as a way of reducing the amount of herbicide used in the environment. In 1998, the group shifted their research focus from forest herbicides to horticulture. They have since developed specialised formulations of insecticides and fungicides for use with apples, kiwifruit, persimmon, summer fruit, citrus and cherries.

This work led to the development of designer additives called adjuvants, and in the last 5 years PPC NZ has been applying "tailored technology" to other crops such as potatoes and onions. The New Zealand company who funded these developments with support from Tech NZ is now selling the new product "DuWett" all around the world.

For more information, contact: Jerzy (George) Zabkiewicz – Director, PPC NZ 07 343 5491