City loses long-time busi­ness con­trib­u­tor

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

The first day of 2017 brought sig­nif­i­cant loss to the Up­per Hutt com­mu­nity with the pass­ing of Alan Bow­mar, one of the city’s most loyal, suc­cess­ful and re­spected busi­ness­men.

In the late 1970s Bow­mar founded Acma In­dus­tries, a pi­o­neer­ing busi­ness based in Mont­gomery Cr. Ini­tially a pro­ducer of foam seat­ing and head­rests for the lo­cal au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, Acma grew into a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer spe­cial­is­ing in polyurethane foam mould­ing for the do­mes­tic mar­ket, Aus­tralia, Chine, In­dia, France, the United States and other coun­tries.

Born in Huntly in March 1946, Bow­mar left Whanganui Tech­ni­cal Col­lege at 16 to work at Fel­tex and start a sev­eral decade con­nec­tion with Up­per Hutt. In five years he moved from a tyro lab tech­ni­cian to fac­tory man­ager.

He also studied for a New Zealand Sci­ence Cer­tifi­cate at Pe­tone’s Cen­tral In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy where he met Mar­garet, a fel­low stu­dent who was to be his fu­ture wife and lifepart­ner.

Af­ter Bow­mar com­pleted his Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Chem­istry and Eco­nom­ics at Can­ter­bury Univer­sity, the cou­ple mar­ried in 1969 and a year later moved to Up­per Hutt. Bow­mar re­turned to Fel­tex where he was soon gen­eral man­ager. The cou­ple’s chil­dren, John and Vanessa, were born in 1971 and 1973 re­spec­tively.

In 1978, and think­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing car arm rests out of polyurethane would be a good busi­ness, Bow­mar started Acma with part­ners Ge­orge Peters and Eric Evans.

Over the years Acma had to both de­velop and re-in­vent it­self, mov­ing into com­mer­cial fur­ni­ture foam and tech­ni­cal prod­ucts in­clud­ing rail seat­ing, safety floor­ing and un­der­lay. It also pro­duced weapons, ar­mour and props for ma­jor lo­cal films in­clud­ing Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Avatar.

John joined Acma in 1995 and the father and son com­bi­na­tion worked as a team to the time of Alan’s pass­ing. Bow­mar’s busi­ness years fea- tured ser­vice with a range of or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing the Up­per Hutt and Welling­ton Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Boards, Plas­tics New Zealand [where he Pres­i­dent] and the Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Time with a grow­ing fam­ily in­cluded sum­mer camp­ing hol­i­days and Mt Ruapehu ski­ing in win­ter. Alan and Mar­garet also loved trekking, shar­ing many ad­ven­tures in­clud­ing cov­er­ing a 3000 kilo­me­tre Ap­palachian trail which de­manded their liv­ing out of a back pack for sev­eral months. They also walked across Eng­land and took the chal­lenge of many of New Zealand’s Great Walks.

Sur­vived by Mar­garet, two chil­dren and five grand­chil­dren, Alan Ed­ward Bow­mar, 70, died at home on Jan­uary 1.

Up­per Hutt bus­ness­man Alan Bow­mar

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