How to Promote Your “Made in New Zealand” Product

August 11, 2011

by Justine Parsons


Recent Linkedin Discussion:

Watching a Close Up article recently highlighted the lack of genuine made in New Zealand products for sale in the tourism industry.

Taking this further, there is not a lot the average household purchases that is Kiwi Made.

As a nation which prides ourselves on our identity and quality, I suggest we start to look at how we can promote our Kiwi made products, and where cost prohibits the production of these products, which point of difference we can highlight to justify that cost.

In sourcing new products I have to weave my way around all sorts of excuses for products advertised as ‘New Zealand product’ but made overseas.

Jobs are needed here, we need to make as much as possible ourselves to provide those jobs – yes, they have to be competitive but usually good quality will help that.

On a more positive note, I do think more consumers are looking to find out where products are made – and buy New Zealand made where they can

Leanne Martell As a “Maker” of New Zealand products I can say from experience that there is a very fine line small businesses like myself have to walk. Purchasing New Zealand raw materials to create my products (soap, lotions etc) is more expensive than purchasing from overseas – and actually making them here costs more than having the cheaper labour available elsewhere make them. That DOES mean that my products must sell for more in order for me to make a living at what I do. The expectation, however, is that it must be a competitive wholesale price in order for the larger outlets to carry NZ made and make a profit as well… something they are reluctant to do. I am venturing into the wholesale arena this year with fear and trepidation – and my fingers crossed! Hoping I have all my boxes ticked – being fair in my costing and ready to educate buyers. It is STILL a Business, not a hobby, and although I do it for love – it also has to pay the bills.

I am listed with many New Zealand made sites, and to be honest, have not benefitted or had any sales directly from them – my sales and my business growth has come from talking directly to my target market, educating them about the process, the ingredients, and very often giving away samples to try, overcoming the attitude of “I just get this cheaper one, then if it isn’t what I like I haven’t lost as much $” – once tried I generally have created a loyal customer – Facebook and Twitter have also been invaluable. In order for people to buy NZ made products that are more expensive than their overseas equivalent, the product CAN’T be the same… it MUST be better.


We are especially sad to see every year at least one manufacturer of quality products shift their production out of New Zealand. This results in immediate job losses here both directly and indirectly, and in the long term it can mean a skill loss that is difficult to replace easily.

It seems increasingly obvious that for companies to continue here, they need to work the high-end of whatever market they are in. Competing on price simply won’t work. So the success in dependant on building their brand, not just making great products.


As a Virtual Assistant I am competing with companies from India and the Philippines (to name a couple) where you can contract services for as little as $3 an hour. I cannot hope to compete with this, and don’t wish to, but I can offer more services than the average ‘administration’ based providers. I am in the middle of a course in Small Business Growth & Development to 1. offer my customers (who are for the most part small business owners) a better service, and 2. develop goals and strategies to improve my own business direction.

Retaining our “made in NZ” brand is a massive task as more companies, and countries, look to outsource both labour and production….but we are up to it!!

Hopefully there has been so much inferior imported stuff that New Zealanders have finally got out of the old feeling of ‘If it comes from overseas it must be better’. Most of the New Zealand skincare is far better


It’s all well and good to encourage New Zealand made products as long as we can be competitive (either through price, quality or otherwise) cause the most job growth comes from thriving competitive business with real value creation.

Websites like the soon to be launched that promote New Zealand made products help enable small and emerging New Zealand business to sustain their NZ Made philosophy. They provide an increasingly important additional distribution channel that helps profile and position identifiably NZ products in the market.

NZ small businesses, especially those that offer something that is uniquely NZ reflect who we are and contribute to our sense of national identity and pride as well as to our enonomy.

I think there is often so much focus on whether a ‘world market’ will want a product or service’ that it is that ‘kiwi’ uniqueness that could have provided the globally appealing ‘x’ factor that is lost.

The movie Whale Rider for instance, is a uniquely and specifically NZ story. It was not altered or tweaked to have a more ‘global flavour’ Instead it maintained it NZ authenticity and this in part made it the globally appealing success.

My vision is that Tutu Taniwha can maintain authenticity as a uniquely NZ children’s character loved by generations and from this a global appeal will follow:)

Louise White We specialise in retailing NZ made furniture, art and homewares. It is extremely hard to find NZ made homewares that are great design but within peoples budgets. We have definitely noticed a downturn in the last 3-4 years in the demand, price has become the main objective. We do still sell a reasonable amount of furniture- custom made for our clients- as most are not prepared to compromise on quality and finish on their big purchases. 
It does still surprise me that so many people are prepared to order a sofa from Italy (for example) and wait 12 weeks for it to arrive- what’s the guarantee that it is going to be perfect when it arrives? I think our Furniture manufacturers in NZ do a fantastic job and can supply us with all the up to date trends for a great quality and price.

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