By Daniel Taylor, head of manufacturing, NZTE

Gone are the days where manufacturing meant dirty factories pumping out large volumes of the same product, regardless of whether it was what the customer really wanted or not.

Today, New Zealand manufacturing is characterised by niche, high-value offerings with the customer need at the centre, and all this is enabled due to one key focus – innovation.

To that end, it’s fantastic to see a number of our innovative manufacturing customers represented amongst the recently announced NZIBA finalists, and I wanted to shine the spotlight on just a couple.

Gisborne-based Pulton Composites proves that location need not be a barrier to innovation.  Pulton’s relentless pursuit of innovation can best be summed up in their own words; “if we’re not putting in the time to improve our product, we don’t feel we’ve done a good enough job for our customers”.

This mindset has seen Pulton become a key component of such varied innovations as the world’s safest springfree trampoline, and the seawall designed to protect the iconic Burj Al Arab in Dubai – the drive for innovation has seen the company pioneer more than 45 composite product developments for customers right around the globe.

Dawn Aerospace, headquartered in Christchurch, shows that New Zealand manufacturing can compete globally in the highly competitive, rapidly evolving space sector. This wouldn’t be possible without an innovation mindset – the willingness and ability to not only think differently, but to act differently too. 

With an on-going focus on research and development, coupled with that all-important customer-centricity, Dawn Aerospace continues to innovate at pace, with their mission being to provide dramatically more scalable and sustainable ways to access and move around in space.

These are just two of the many examples of such innovation across the New Zealand manufacturing sector, and it’s something we need to keep championing and supporting – with a focus on customer-centric innovation, the future looks bright.

You can read about all the International Business Awards finalists here: New Zealand International Business Awards (