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Necessity is the mother of invention, so the saying goes, and the need in Taranaki has seen some amazing innovations.
The farming industry has called for many labour-saving devices and that call has been answered by generations of Kiwis tinkering in their sheds. Milking machines, the world’s first rotating milking platform, vehicles and even brassieres have all had their birth in region. Marvel at the skill and ingenuity and perhaps wonder – what could I do with a piece of No 8 wire and the will to succeed?
If you're a woman into martial arts, fencing or paintball - chances are you'll be abreast of Max Rutherford's designs. The New Plymouth man's chest protectors have been safeguarding the world's sportswomen for the past 20 years.
But just how does a former international motor racing mechanic end up designing women's protective underwear?
From bolts to breasts
Max Rutherford's calling was...
Norian thoughts from the Bee Man
The circle is spiritual. The square is material.
Love is curved. Hate is a straight line.
A halo contains no right angles. The Cross has 12. The swastika has 20.
The house of Norian – No Right Angles
In Edgar Roy Brewster's house, even the...
A little more than 100 years ago, the people of Stratford faced a great debate – whether to opt for electric lights or go with watergas lamps.
It looked like the watergas option was a fait accompli with the Stratford Town Board, until a forward-thinking man stepped into the fray.
That man was Alexander Walker Reid, affectionately known as AWR (no relation to the...
"For Sale – mountain goat, two years old, fitted with lights and tow bar, $200."
The advertisement in a Taranaki newspaper had some readers up in arms. "In this enlightened age, it made me sick to read this advertisement. Does the RSPCA know about this?" wrote one animal lover. But she'd got the wrong end of the stick.
It was 1963 and New Plymouth man Johnny Callender had invented the first...
It's as if Rex Brewster needs to balance truth against legend. When you ask about his father, Edgar Roy Brewster, you inadvertently tap into a small seam of pain. Rex is softly spoken and candid, and you quickly come to appreciate his gentle honesty.
It's a way of telling the true story of a man who was not a hero but a real person with real failings. And it doesn't take long to understand...
When inventor Lou Butler had an idea, he used to sketch it with chalk on the concrete floor of his Inglewood workshop.
And when he was thinking, the Swiss-born farmer would sit in the sepia gloom of his enormous engineering shed and smoke cigar after cigar. Then he would swallow the butts, the same way he would shrug off doubts.
His sons, Owen (77) and Lou junior (69), say their late father...
One man's trash is another's treasure - so the saying goes. Michael Lawley's EcoInnovation business started, literally, on rubbish.
The Taranaki-based renewable energy business began when a friend asked Englishman Michael to build him a water wheel to generate electricity.
The first place he began the search for a generator was the local dump. While fossicking he stumbled across a Fisher and...