When it comes to buying products that are made in their own country, New Zealanders are as patriotic as most. Recent research conducted by National Research showed that nine out of 10 kiwis prefer to buy local products where price and quality are equal with imported product.
In many areas of commerce, New Zealand has shown it can not only compete with the best in the world but often actually be the best. Our manufactured products in the dairy industry quickly come to mind, as do numerous other food products. Of course, food is what we are known for, but there are many others. In recent years, for instance, the New Zealand wine industry has proved it can be the world’s best with varieties, such as sauvignon blanc, while our beer and spirit manufacturers have also won international plaudits and awards.
Our wool products are among the world’s finest, our boat building and fitting-out industries draw prestigious contracts from overseas and draw tens of millions of dollars into the local economy each year. Many of our manufactured wood products are as good as any. And while a number of these are based around New Zealand farmers’ and growers’ ability to produce wonderful products at primary level, that has been no barrier to ingenious breakthroughs. Dr Hartley Atkinson’s recent development and patenting of the pain killer, Maxigesic, has demonstrated small country’s ability to compete with giant international pharmaceutical companies with budgets in the billions. Parallels can also be drawn with software development where several New Zealand developed products are now on the world stage.
As the world realises the necessity of conserving oil and gas reserves, the need to use products that are made locally using indigenous materials, has taken on a much greater significance. But the most immediate benefits are closer at hand. When someone buys a New Zealand product, they are helping to create jobs and promote economic growth. And while we can always do better, some companies supplying the accommodation industry are ticking all the right the boxes.
New Zealand Furniture Among the Best
Danske Mobler has been manufacturing furniture in New Zealand since 1958 and is very much a local company, employing more than 80 people in its woodwork and upholstery factories at Auckland. About 60 per cent of what it markets, it manufactures.
The company name translates as ‘Danish furniture’ but the words: ‘Proudly New Zealand made for over 50 years’ are always present in its advertising.
Danske Mobler’s furniture is characterised by clean Scandinavian lines with designs that don’t date. “And Scandinavian furniture is renowned for quality, as is ours,” says marketing manager Lyn Poirier.
She says locally produced furniture has several advantages over imported, a major one being flexibility of design. “We can custom make furniture, from individual items to large commercial projects. We will manufacture furniture to the customer’s own design or will design in consultation with them. Cheaper prices offered by some overseas countries do not necessarily make their products a better buy.”
And while imported furniture can be cheaper, it is also often cheaper in quality, she said. “We’re frequently called upon to replace imported furniture that has quickly fallen apart and there is no back-up from the import company. With Danske Mobler, all our New Zealand made product comes with a guarantee, which is backed by our full after sales service should the need arise.”
Ms Poirier says Danske Mobler makes a lot of furniture for hotels and motels, often to their own design and specifications. “But our own New Zealand made designs are of a very high international standard, so we can also supply from our existing range.” While the company imports some very high quality product from countries known for their design flair, such as Norway and Italy, the sofas it makes itself are of considerably higher quality.
“Our other advantage is in the lead times. What might take six months for a big order out of China, we can do in two to three months.”
Original New Zealand Quality
Health Pak is a totally New Zealand owned and operated company that was started in 1956 and today employs about 64 people. It makes an average of a million products a day.
Its modern, purpose-built factory in Auckland’s Penrose, brings a distinctly New Zealand flavour to the local amenities market with its innovative use of native plants as ingredients. This, along with original designs and world leading work in environmental packaging, has seen Health Pak’s local and export sales increase exponentially in recent years, and has recently expanded its range to include larger retail sized products.
Health Pak sales and marketing manager, James Kennedy-Grant, says the company is increasingly using indigenous components such as: manuka honey, tea tree leaf and kawakawa bush pepper. Two of the ranges are based heavily on such ingredients. One, Koha Spa, contains Rotorua mud mask, citrus extract in the shampoo from Kerikeri, the soap has kelp from Kaikoura and there is grape seed oil from Marlborough.
Mr Kennedy-Grant sees the New Zealand flavour as very important. “Overseas guests have come to experience New Zealand and they don’t want to find bottles that say ‘Made in China’ on them. But New Zealanders like to see locally made products as well. We receive a lot of feedback saying that.”
In other ways, too, Health Pak is truly a New Zealand company. Almost every item is produced locally or on its premises. All cosmetics, including lotions and soaps, are manufactured and packaged on site. With such products as a shampoo bottle, Health Pak produces the contents, bottle, cap and the filling.
Health Pak’s growing reputation has paid off in export dollars, as well as local receipts. Among its best markets are: Australia, the Pacific Islands and the United States. It also carries out a considerable amount of contract packing for several international airlines and multinational hotel chains which demand very high standards.