US market keen for kiwi made
A Wanaka manufacturer says New Zealand might have lost the America’s Cup on the water, but manufacturing businesses are enjoying a big win. TJ Irwin has been manufacturing The Slammer Tool from his Wanaka base for 23 years and now has distributors in South America, the United States and Australia. Described as a combination between a crow bar, axe, spade and grubber, the Slammer tool is enjoying a surge in popularity due to its kiwi origins. ‘‘Ever since the competition started for the America’s Cup, our representative in southern California has tripled sales due to the fact that a lot of people in the States are seeing both boats are made by kiwis,’’ Mr Irwin said. ‘‘We’re extremely proud of Team New Zealand ... I think a lot of people don’t understand that the boat building industry here is bigger than the wine industry.’’ The tool is used in the horticulture and agriculture industries, but has also been used for disaster recovery, breaking and leveraging concrete in the Haiti and Christchurch earthquakes and the Japanese tsunami. The Slammer Tool’s profile is also growing in New Zealand, after being nominated alongside Wanaka’s D-Fa dogs in the Made In New Zealand People’s Choice awards.
Made in NZ: Team Emirates New Zealand might not have won the Auld Mug but the America’s Cup has proved awinner for New Zealand manufacturers, a Wanaka businessman says.