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In the news: back in original factory

TV3 News reports on our move back into our original ski factory nearly four years after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes destroyed our building.

It's going to be a busy summer for New Zealand's first ski manufacturer, who is back in rebuilt premises on its original quake-damaged site in Lyttelton.

But the quakes have also helped the business; news coverage of the damage raised the profile of Kingswood Skis overseas, leading to orders from all around the world.

Back in the basement of what once was the Lyttelton rugby clubrooms, ski-maker Alex Herbert is getting ready for a busy summer.

"It's summertime now; it's warm outside but we're as busy as ever making skis," says Mr Herbert. "It feels all wrong but it's all right at the same time."

He's rebuilt at his old site, living upstairs and working downstairs. It's much nicer than his temporary premises in a shipping container. It took three years to get back, much of it fighting red tape.

"Some people discovered a tenacity in them that they didn't know they had," says Kris Herbert. "We're definitely in the latter category. We didn't get here by watching from the sidelines."

But the quakes have also helped their business, making Kingswood-brand bamboo-and-plastic skis, which happen to share the same name as a Holden car. Kingswood got international publicity when the quakes hit. That sort of exposure led to orders from all over the world.

"I guess in a way we used the earthquakes as a little bit of international marketing," says Mr Herbert. "It put Christchurch on the map; being a ski manufacturer in Christchurch, people overseas suddenly took notice of us."

Now the latest is an order from a shop in one of the world's swankiest resorts.

"We've got an order for 10 pairs of skis from a shop in St Moritz in Switzerland, which is one of the glitziest, most glamorous ski resorts in the world," says Mr Herbert.

It is an example of how Christchurch's disaster also became an opportunity.

3 News


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