I have lived in this area for most of my life and I have always loved it. I cannot think of anywhere in the world I would rather have our business. I started 'business' in this area in 1971. I was 11 years old. I would ride my bike from school on a Friday to mow the lawns for McGaw Ethicals Limited, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Apirana Avenue where my father worked - where Pak n Save and Z are now.
Having a business in Tāmaki is exciting. Our area is on the cusp of something great. An opportunity of a lifetime to create our own future. Ever since those days mowing lawns, I have always looked up to the people in this area and admired their strength, resilience and the way they genuinely care for each other and want to help each other. I consider myself lucky to be a part of such a great community.
When I was 16, I was able to start working in the factory where I mowed those lawns. I just loved it. The people were so friendly, kind and hardworking and they had such a sense of teamwork and community. This experience left a big impression on me. I always knew that if, one day, I had my own business, it would ideally be in this community.
Many years later, in 2011, my wife Karen and I decided to take the plunge and turn a dream into a reality. Our vision was simple - to create jobs for people in our community. It has always been our number one goal, that will never change; being 100% New Zealand-owned was also important to us. When we started, all we had was an empty building, no business, no customers and a bank mortgage. We knew we would find a way to make our vision become a reality because we were passionate about Tāmaki and our people.
At first we rented out parts of our warehouse as storage to establish a revenue stream. Next step was to create jobs. We purchased a machine that made ice cream cone sleeves - it was clever, but old and stubborn and it challenged us daily. We persevered, and with the help of Courtney Engineering in Pilkington Road we designed and built a brand new machine based on what we had learnt from the old one. Locals, working together. We have improved from producing 900 cone sleeves in an eight hour day to a record of 158,000 in the same timeframe with our new machine which we have called “NZOne”. A goal we have is to export this niche product, and Australia is our immediate target market.
Alongside this we purchased equipment that specialises in manufacturing product samples for companies across a wide range of industries. We have established and grown a strong presence in this market and Jacobsen Flooring in Morrin Road has become an important customer for us. Again, more locals working together. Today we have six unique and truly talented team members employed at Inbox. Paul, Chris, Luke and I all live locally. Wade is from across the river and Levonne has a little further to travel. Our vision “to create jobs for people in our community” has become a reality.
In ten years’ time my dream is that our team will have grown; we will all live in Tāmaki; and by working together, members of our team can be assisted to owning their own homes in this area. Tāmaki has the potential to become world famous as a place to live, a place to be safe, a place to visit, a place to gain an education, a place to work, a place to do business, a place to grow old. I am so excited to be a part of what is happening here.
Make it count here at home
There are around 900 businesses in Tāmaki (Glen Innes, Pt England and Panmure). Together they create community, character and local jobs. Whenever you can, shop where it makes the most difference.
Register your interest below. We will send updates about the Tāmaki Regeneration programme and the many opportunities unfolding in Tāmaki.
Your name has been added to our mailing list and we will keep you updated