Kiwi loyalty to NZ Brand Resene – Innovation in a can

Monday 09 June 2014

Kiwi ingenuity and innovation, quite simply have been an ongoing key factor in the success of Resene - New Zealand's own family-run paint company.


Innovation, quite simply has been an ongoing key factor in the success of Resene - New Zealand's own family-run paint company.

From its quintessentially Kiwi beginnings in a Wellington garage 65 years ago, to its award-winning sustainability efforts of recent years, Resene has managed to forge a reputation of excellence and quality in manufacturing paints, colours and coatings that meet the demanding standards of architectural and building industry professionals.

map of nz

In 1946 an Eastbourne builder, Ted Nightingale, needed an alkali resistant paint to cover his concrete buildings. There was nothing available at the time, so he employed a bit of Kiwi ingenuity and innovation and developed his own using a cement mixer in his garage.

Such was the demand from other builders that Ted began producing his cement-based paint on a commercial basis, and Resene was born. In 1951, New Zealand's first water-borne paint was sold under the brand name Resene (a nod to the paint's main ingredient, resin).

The birth of water-borne paint

Combating loyalty to traditional lead and solvent borne paints and the disbelief that a water-borne paint would not wash off the walls with water proved tough, but Resene's perseverance paid off.

Success stories like Resene often include a unique marketing approach and their water-based technology was demonstrated in shop windows, where boards were painted with water-borne paints and the brushes rinsed off in water, much to the marvel of passers-by!

Another innovative gamble paid off in 1975, when Resene opted to sell product directly through a national chain of retail stores - the Resene ColorShops.

Over the years Resene has led the way in colour concepts: introducing a strong range of colours to a pastel-weary nation, pioneering the development of coloured paint bases, offering a full range of test pots and delivering virtual painting technology with the free downloadable Resene EzyPaint.

pots of paint

With three generations of the Nightingale family keeping the momentum going, the company has seen continued growth - producing both decorative and protective coatings for residential, commercial and industrial needs and a growing presence in offshore markets like Australia and Fiji.

Resene was green long before it was topical

In the late 1960s, lead was removed from decorative paints well ahead of other manufacturers. Further environmental initiatives include launching New Zealand's first VOC (volatile solvent) free interior wall paint, as well as the Resene Earthsense range (with 20 per cent renewable content in the dry paint form and 65 per cent renewable as it is delivered in the can) and the Resene CoolColour™ range (formulated to reflect more of the sun's energy, keeping surfaces cooler and reducing stress on the coating and building).

Resene colour chart

And to top it off, Resene founded a paint recovery and recycling programme, Resene PaintWise.

Winning in the marketplace

These conscious efforts saw Resene scoop several prestigious environmental awards in 2010 including NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards' Sustainable Business of the Year; Sustainable 60 Awards' Large Company Exemplar Business Award, Marketplace category winner and a special commendation for being the only entrant to be a finalist in all five award categories; and a Ministry for the Environment Green Ribbon award.

In 2009 Resene won up to $1 million in research and development services from Industrial Research Ltd to develop water-borne paints based on sustainable ingredients, breaking the paint industry's long term reliance on gas and oil for high-performance paints.

With Innovation and integrity at its core and present in its inception, development and growth, Resene's continued focus on innovation will undoubtedly continue to fuel its ongoing momentum in years to come.