Rotorua’s Damar Industries has launched a brand of hand sanitisers and related sanitising products and aims to produce up to a million litres a month to meet the demand for what has become an essential product and to future proof local supply.
Damar Industries is the country’s largest manufacturer of ethanol-based consumer products and has decided to broaden its production in the face of surging customer demand for sanitiser and other cleaning products.
It will sell the sanitiser under the brand name SaniHero. This is an entirely new category for 36-year-old family owned New Zealand business.
Damar Industries has grown from a paint and varnish company working out of a cowshed, into New Zealand’s largest manufacturer of coatings, chemicals and aerosols.
Currently most sanitisers are made offshore and imported into New Zealand.
“During the early days of Covid-19 we saw widespread out of stock situations and it was clear that the reliance on imported sanitiser is a risk to individuals, our frontline workers and our wider medical services,” said Scott Thomson, founding director of Damar Industries.
“The lack of supply of an essential product is untenable and left many people exposed and pressured into paying vastly inflated prices.
“We believe Kiwis deserve to have access to products they need to keep them safe and we are absolutely committed to helping them do this.
Supporting local business
Thompson said the SaniHero launch not only enabled the retail and health sector to break the dependence on the international supply chain for an essential item, but it also supported local business efforts and more jobs for Kiwis.
“Our chemists and laboratory have developed a superior sanitiser which has been proven to kill 99.99% of germs and our Rotorua plant can easily produce sanitiser since it falls into our current area of expertise,” said Thompson.
“In the longer term, we will be developing a hospital grade sanitiser to enable our DHB’s to source local as well. Our state-of-the-art plant and automated production lines enable us to produce up to a million litres of superior sanitiser every month. When we are up to full capacity, lack of supply will be a thing of the past for New Zealand.”
Rotorua mayor Stevie Chadwick said: “It is great to see local businesses using innovation to create new products that will bring jobs into our community when we know that some of our traditional industries are struggling.”
The mayor said the loss of tourists and the cancellation of events would have a severe impact on Rotorua, so the news of a local manufacturer stepping up in this way to grow local business and employment was especially welcome.
Mitre 10 NZ is the first local retailer to get on board with the Made in New Zealand product. Damar Industries anticipates other retailers will soon follow.
The SaniHero sanitizers are available in a 500ml pump bottle (RRP $9.95) and a 1L refill pouch (RRP $19.95). A handheld 60ml sanitizer option and an aerosol surface spray are in planning.