To most New Zealanders the Temuka Pottery name is certainly well known and from 1931 up until March 2015 New Zealand Insulators owned and operated this business. Today, Temuka Pottery is a separate company outside of New Zealand Insulators. It continues to flourish and carry on the grand history that has gone before it.
The Pottery story:
In the early 1930’s the third General Manager for New Zealand Insulators diversified into the pottery business. Arthur Topliss was a skilled potter by trade and during his time at NZI established a quality brand. They won contracts to manufacture electric jugs and were later appointed to make crockery for NZ Railways. The robust “railways cups” (often considered indestructible) were made from the very same Kakahu clay blend which New Zealand Insulators still use today in the manufacture their insulators.
Of course Temuka Pottery’s finest hour was in the 1970’s where the Riverstone series (designed by the late Jack Laird of Nelson) was known and loved by many kiwis. The curvy, matt, brown Riverstone sold literally millions of pieces and still represent a relationship which many Kiwi households continue to have with the brand.
In the 1980’s Riverstone suffered from the cultural change with a movement to pink and grey and then the highly decorated versions of Temuka pottery which included hand decorated items of the 1990’s. Unfortunately sales volumes decreased over the following 20 years as low cost import products flooded into the New Zealand market.
During the 1990’s New Zealand Insulators made the decision to downsize the Temuka Homeware
s retail network. Then in 2009 closed the NZI owned Temuka Pottery shop / café in Temuka. A sign that Temuka Pottery was no longer a core business for New Zealand Insulators.
Thankfully in 2011 under new management NZI made bold moves to revitalise the Temuka Pottery brand and started to rework the range, with old designs being retired and new exciting designs released. The Temuka Pottery shop in Mendelson Barn, on the State Highway bypass was reopened under licence to the new owners, Charles & Amanda Scarsbrook trading as 100% Homemade. The new pottery shop and café continues to trade well.
In March 2013 the Cambridge Country Store, also known as the “Pink Church” was setup as a Temuka stockist for the Waikato region. Then in Dec 2013 the first (for 20 years) Temuka Pottery stockist was opened in Broadway, Newmarket Auckland, just a couple of doors along Broadway from where the last Auckland Temuka Pottery stockist closed 20 years prior. Merge Fashion and Homewares on Broadway continue to expand the full Temuka Pottery range.
In March 2015 Temuka Pottery was separated and sold and now operates as a completely separate business from New Zealand Insulators. This provided the opportunity for NZI to focus on its core business of manufacturing Electrical Insulators and also provided Temuka Pottery and the new owners a chance to invigorate and nurture a flourishing business that carries a grand history and respect of New Zealanders.
The entire Temuka Pottery range is available for online purchase at www.temukapottery.co.nz