Changing South

New Zealand Made: a love affair with local

In Christchurch there’s a tiny shop with a big mantra - buy New Zealand made. Frank Film meets the passionate retailer and the clever Kiwis she’s helping.

In Tessa Peach’s tightly crammed shop, you’ll find everything from drill bits and garden spades, to preserved fruits, frying pans, shoes and shoe horns.

As Frank Film discovers, there is a plethora of product, some of it spilling onto the landing nearby, and all of it is made in New Zealand.

“We have so much that we make here,” says Peach, “and we don’t celebrate it as much as we should”.

Peach’s small store, in Christchurch’s historic Arts Centre, is named after her grandmother, Frances Nation, “as a nod to a generation who made things to last”.

Peach agrees it’s rare to find a shop that focuses solely on New Zealand made goods, and she’s found that many retailers will say their stock is made here, “but it is actually designed in New Zealand and made offshore.”

Her suppliers include potters and weavers, but also small and medium-scale manufacturers - local industries now at the forefront of a ‘buy Kiwi made’ resurgence.

Peach says some of that newfound patriotism is a result of the global pandemic and a desire to support fellow New Zealanders, though she opened her shop in 2017, having identified a consumer trend away from mass produced goods and a drive for connection with everyday objects.

“There is more of a consciousness around what we're buying,” says Peach. “My shop is about buying less not more.”

That ‘less’ can come with a hefty price tag - an $85 dollar broom, for example - but Peach argues it’s about value for money, “buying things that cost more but are going to last longer in the long run.”

To ensure integrity, Peach travels the country to meet with suppliers personally and, while she admits to saying “no, to a lot of things”, it’s obvious she says "yes" to a whole lot more.

Peach believes the pandemic has highlighted the fragility of some current business practices and she’s proud of the reliability of her supply chain.

Frank Film travels with Peach as she calls in on current and potential suppliers, including Teddington blacksmith, Les Schenkel, and medical herbalist, Valmai Becker.

With her background in spatial design, Peach works with some suppliers to create new objects, many of which she calls "heirlooms".

Her favourite is the potato masher, with hand-bent stainless steel and hand-turned rimu.

Made in Christchurch and “built to last”.

Frances Nation likely owned one similar.

*Made with the support of NZ On Air*

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