Tuapeka Gold Print director of operations Brad Houghton
displays some of the company's printed pens in its
warehouse on the outskirts of Lawrence yesterday. Photo by
Tuapeka Gold Print, Lawrence's biggest employer, is
looking to build a new factory but says a decision on whether
it would be in the town might be up to possible investors.
Company founder and marketing director Jim Robertson said the
company ''desperately'' needed a new factory and was
''I would be gutted if we have to leave the town,'' he said.
''The industry is changing fast. We're investing in new
technology ... No-one can work in six buildings and be
Initial estimates for a new factory were between $3 million
and $4 million, and investment would be sought to fund a
project that large, Mr Robertson said.
The company's co-owner and managing director, Brad Houghton,
said it was ''early days'' and stressed no decisions had been
''Our preference is, of course, to build the factory in
Lawrence, which has been our home for the last 25 years.
''We anticipate finding investors prepared to build a factory
in Lawrence will be difficult, so it is only prudent that we
look at all options while we are in the planning stage,'' Mr
Robertson said in a statement yesterday..
Tuapeka Gold Print occupies five premises in Lawrence - the
main office, drinkware facility, drinkware warehouse, the
main decoration and assembly compound and a large satellite
warehouse on the outskirts of town - and a warehouse in
The company was founded in 1987 by Mr Robertson, who started
printing business cards at home on the kitchen table. It now
employs 70 people, a large portion of the town's population
Over recent years, the company had developed new printing
technologies that allowed it to expand significantly its
product range and sales. It had also expanded sales in
Australia, which were growing faster than it could
Mr Robertson said plans to introduce more new technology and
product categories were ''severely constrained'' by the lack
''In the worst-case scenario, if we were unable to find
suitable investment to build in Lawrence, we would
reluctantly be forced to consider other locations. In the
event of this happening, we have advised our employees that
there would be no redundancies.''
Tuapeka Gold Print initially focused on printing pens. By
1993, with sales of up to four million pens, it was the
largest printed pen business in New Zealand.
The company also manufactures drink bottles, but buys most of
its products from China before printing and distributing them
through New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.