Business South August 2022

54 | Waitaki: Canterbury Spinners REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Shift to Oamaru driving growth Richard Loader A subsidiary of Godfrey Hirst, Canterbury Spinners Ltd has been a valued part of Waitaki community since 2013, following the demise of its Christchurch plant and operation as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes. Canterbury Spinners makes beautiful high quality wool yarns that are supplied to Godfrey Hirst and manufactured into the top-quality woollen carpets we know and love, the majority of which are exported to Australia and the United States. These woollen carpets are made in New Zealand. to page 56 Anywhere. Any�me. 24/7 | 0800 274 247 | HELP@ASHAIR.CO.NZ | WWW.ASHAIR.CO.NZ Compressor Sales & Installa�ons | Preventa�ve Maintenance | Remote Monitoring Overhauls | Hire Fleet & Leasing Solu�ons | Vacuum Pump Services Leak Detec�ons & Energy Audits | Breakdown Recovery & Emergency Air AshAir Compressed Air & Vacuum The company was formed in 1991 growing from a single site operation in Christchurch until the earthquakes, when it was employing close to 300 people. “We had also bought Feltex operations and had them operating in the North Island as Canterbury Spinners — one in Dannevirke and the other in Lower Hutt,” says General Manager Bruce Blair. “After the Christchurch earthquakes we ended up with just the two North Island sites, which didn’t have the capacity to produce the volumes we required. So, to safeguard our business, we purchased the Oamaru site, in the Waitaki district.” The site and machinery had been previously owned by Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation and traded as Summit Textiles Ltd. When that company made the decision to leave the district in 2013, making its staff redundant, Canterbury Spinners took the opportunity to buy the site, plant and equipment, rehiring 30 of the staff previously made redundant. Over the last nine years Canterbury Spinners’ Waitaki operation has progressively grown and now employs 130 staff, about half of which are completely new to the business. “We’re now working five days a week, three shifts a day, over 24 hours. The 130 staff are inclusive of administration, maintenance services and operations staff.” Once the shorn wool is scoured it is bought by Canterbury Spinners for processing. Scouring is the process of preparing and washing a batch of raw sheep’s wool to remove impurities like dirt and lanolin — a natural greasy substance in sheep’s wool. “That scoured wool is then taken through to a finished yarn that can be made into carpet,” explains Bruce. “From start to finish there are a number of work centres at our operation, from preparing the wool fibre which includes dying the fibre, blending the fibre, carding and spinning the fibre into yarn.