In the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s sand pits and toy boxes were filled with aluminum trucks, soldiers and cork guns under a brand called Fun-ho. The toys were built to last - in fact I still have a few tractors with tipping buckets past down from my Father who had them when he was a child in the 60’s. Aside from most of the paint being worn off from decades of abuse and exposure to the elements, the tractors still function the same as the day they left the factory.
The factory has changed a few times over the years. Trends and market shifts saw multiple pivots for the family-run toy manufacturing business, which saw a change from small scale sand cast toys, to larger ride-on toys under the Tri-ang brand name amongst other things. A well recognised product that was designed, and fabricated here in the factory is a tricycle that came in either red or blue colours.
In the Mid 90’s the factory wound down from mass manufacturing. China's relentless push and ability to reduce manufacturing costs, and the removal of local tariffs meant that industry in New Zealand begun to wilt. Today, most of the factory still remains just as it did 3 decades ago. Shelves are littered with jigs, moulding dies and press tools for the hundreds of products once produced. Bins are still full with hundreds of tires and wheels that never found their home on a tricycle, and scrap bins still half full of offcuts and un-successful prototypes.
Over the past two years we have had the opportunity to take advantage of the facilities available to us in the old toy factory, which has continued to add to our own design capabilities and the ways in which we can service our customers. We have a small design studio in a front office space of the factory, with prototyping workshop adjutant - around 200m2 combined. The space is in constant flux, thus has evolved quite a bit over the last year and will continue to do so, Both Nick and I enjoy the heritage of the factory and the many stories that are hidden in its walls. We are on a mission to bring them back to life.
As of today, we have acquired the factorys tool-making and machine-shop equipment, and press-tooling equipment to further expand our capabilities from front-end design and research through to final manufactured solutions. Additional to myself, Nick and Emma in design, we have on our team Wayne Morris - an incredibly experienced injection moulding toolmaker and manufacturer of 40 years. Wayne's expertise brings indemic to a whole new level of in-house design for manufacturing capability.
We are excited at Indemic to bring life back to the factory, and restore it back to its operational state and produce products once more. We look forward to developing our capability as not only a design studio, but as a local manufacturer.
By Glenn Catchpole