Alexander Donald, of Inverkeithing, Scotland first incorporated A.B. Donald Ltd at Auckland in 1896 following earlier years of ship chandlery and sailmaking in Queen Street, Auckland. Over the next 7 decades the company became a large Pacific Island produce trading corporation with tropical fruits and produce auction centres throughout the North Island. The company operated many ships, mostly trading schooners but with some steel hulled larger motorships in the later fleet. A.B. Donald Ltd and it's subsidiaries, Produce Markets Ltd, Reo Motors Ltd, Les Etablissments Donald Tahiti, expanded rapidly throughout the Pacific and New Zealand until it's breakup and sale in 1972.
The A.B. Donald Ltd company was re-registered by Alex and Linda Donald (a great grandson of the original founder) and commenced trading again in the late 70s soon making it's name with fresh produce exports, especially onions which earned a Tradenz export award. Venturing into vegetable production in the late 80s opened opportunities in the onion seed industry and in association with an overseas partner many new allium varieties were introduced.
Photography was an important tool to evidence trial results and record variety attributes. All this was recorded on film in those days until Kodak's introduction of digital imaging in the early mid 90s. A.B. Donald Ltd was a quick adopter of this technology - at the time a 750 pixel camera the size of a brick was cutting edge, costing many thousands of dollars.
The company moved away from horticulture and the seed industry in the early 2000s when the R&D budget could not compete with multinational seed companies. Development of a new direction for the business, however, was not straightforward with more than a few dead ends being encountered along the way. But the shareholders and working directors, Alex and Linda Donald were determined to build and capitalise on their respective skills. Alex's technical training and experience were a great help in developing a photographic career, and Linda's post graduate journalism studies and marketing background soon built a successful feature writing and communication services business.
Our approach to commercial photography is one of innovation and offering good value for our clients' dollar. Innovative photography doesn't need to be expensive with our resolve being to listen to, and economically deliver on our clients' brief. We offer an unconditional guarantee and are current full members of the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association.
Writing magazine feature articles started during our vegetable production years with many of Linda's articles appearing in magazines of the day - Growing Today, Horticulture NZ, Lifestyle Farmer, Fitness Life, Soulfood, NZ Property Investor and others. Some years of contracting communications services to The National Business Review and Export New Zealand followed. Now working freelance we offer descriptive product advertising copy, press releases, editorial and interview based feature article writing. We are full members of the New Zealand Authors Society.
A.B. Donald Ltd is the holding company for the media operations of Images & Words, which offers photography, imaging services, editorial / feature writing and communication services. Publishing a small range of specialist books is a more recent and growing development with some interesting titles in medium term future planning.