The Vela family originates from a fishing village called Podgora on the Dalmatian Coast. Filip Vela came to New Zealand in 1929 and founded several successful fishing enterprises.

Filip’s son Philip Vela commenced working in the fishing industry at age 15 and was known as a pioneer and innovator within the New Zealand fishing industry until he passed away in 2015, aged 70. He developed Vela Fishing into one of New Zealand’s largest privately owned fishing companies. Philip’s daughter Anita currently works in the business and there is a fourth generation of grandchildren whom will continue the Vela legacy.

Vela Fishing has worked closely with other New Zealand companies in the development of the export markets for New Zealand Seafood products. Vela has been instrumental in the growth of the Hoki, Orange Roughy, Tuna and Squid industries.

With a tradition of innovation, Vela Fishing has achieved a number of "firsts" in the New Zealand fishing scene


First to utilise factory freezer class fishing vessels to produce once frozen fillet product


First to export New Zealand fillet products to the British market.


First to produce and export sea frozen Hoki fillets to the US market.

Vela today

Today Vela Fishing is still a privately held company, being wholly owned by the late Philip Vela’s family - his wife Lyn, their two daughters Andrea and Anita, and their four grandchildren. Vela Fishing own a significant and diversified parcel of quota, and have both a broad and established New Zealand supply base and an international customer base. We pride ourselves on our history of innovation, flexibility, and providing high quality products. Our small highly focused management team and staff are committed to continuing to provide the highest levels of service to ensure customer satisfaction.

The wider Vela Group also has substantial forestry and dairy farming interests in New Zealand.  



Geoff Burgess
Managing Director

Don McIlraith

Sales and Administration Team

Scott Dannock
Export Sales Manager

Samantha Foster 陳依姩 (Mandarin / Cantonese / English) Mussel and Export Sales / Quota Manager

Janet Lewis
Export Officer (Documentation and Certification)


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