Knife fanatic Derek Senior with a knife that was
manufactured in Dunedin. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
When several thousand knives go on sale in Dunedin this
month, it will mark the end of a small slice of the city's
manufacturing history Derek Senior moved to Dunedin in 2003,
with the aim of supporting the South by ''getting a bit of
industry going down here'' with his knife-making business.
''It seemed to be the fashion for everything to go north,''
Mr Senior's interest in knives began nearly 30 years ago,
when he was running a catering business in Hastings.
He was approached by freezing workers who were complaining
that some of the more popular brands of knives were not
holding their edge like they used to.
He investigated and found a German knife that was finished in
Australia, which he believed had all the right attributes,
and he started selling them around meat processing plants in
the North Island.
The realisation that many people were so used to flimsy
models they could not handle a ''serious'' knife, led him on
a search for a simple way to keep them sharp.
He ventured into manufacturing what was known as the Inox
Sterling knife range with steel imported from Sweden.
The company was targeting meat workers and the fishing
industry, along with making chef's knives. It was also
exporting to Australia.
One day, a customer called to say their knife had snapped.
More calls of a similar nature followed.
It turned out that the machinery was stripping the nickel
from the stainless steel, but the company that had made it
had already gone bust.
''It was a bit of a setback,'' Mr Senior acknowledged sagely.
While no longer manufacturing knives, he was still involved
in the knife industry with his company Constant Edge, which
supplied, repaired and sharpened knives, as well as doing
''I still get a buzz out of taking something that's written
off and getting it back to a workable unit,'' he said.
Knives were sourced from around the world and were sold
mostly to the hospitality industry, while some were still
sold to the meat processing industry.
Mr Senior retained a large number of knives in stock from the
They had been left for about eight years and had successfully
come through the ''snap test''. If they had no nickel in
them, they would have gone rusty in that time, and they had
not, he said.
Now he is having a knife sale in Dunedin, starting on Monday,
selling a wide range of knives, from hunting and fishing, to
carving, skinning, sticking, boning and chef's knives.
The sale also included knives sourced from some friends in
Hastings, to whom he sold the Inox business and who were
still supplying meat works.