5 New Zealand Businesses that Came Out of a Garage

5 New Zealand Businesses that Came Out of a Garage


Once a science-loving farm boy, Neil Ridgway is now CEO of Asona, a specialist New Zealand manufacturer, distributor and installer of acoustic decorative ceiling and wall finishes.

From his first product - a glass matt composite - developed in his garage in 2003, Neil has continued developing new and innovative ideas, resulting in patents for composites and unique recycled material panels alike.

Asona is proud of its green business ethos. From development and production sourced locally to ensuring their materials are better for the environment, plus a genuine humanitarian ethic; this company has an edge over its competitors in the market.

As keen as the company is to open more offices internationally, becoming a huge corporate producer is not in the plan - Asona is working on doing it better, smarter and greener.

AFT Pharmaceuticals

Auckland-based company AFT Pharmaceuticals was founded in a garage in 1997 by former pharmacist Hartley Atkinson, and his wife Marree.

From an initial outlay of $50,000, the company now sells more than 100 products in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Europe. Next it has its eyes clearly focussed on the US marketplace.

AFT Pharmaceuticals has its own in-house clinical research and development, and has enormous brand recognition with Maxigesic pain medication and Maxiclear PE nasal decongestant.

Despite international success, the couple remain in New Zealand where they can enjoy a stroll to the beach and raise their four children.


42 below

Geoff Ross is a great New Zealand success story.

Inspired by a magazine advertising vodka made somewhere ‘pure’, and considering that New Zealand is a place of exceptional ‘purity’, Ross built a still in his garage and started making Vodka. Humble beginnings.

He developed a vodka so good that it burst onto the international market, winning numerous prestigious awards along the way. The company’s success belies the incredible effort required to achieve this notoriety, but in roughly 10 years, Geoff went from start-up to selling the brand to Bacardi for a whopping $138 million!

Geoff’s wife and business partner Justine Troy, wrote a book entitled ‘Every Bastard Says No’, telling the story of the business from garage to greatness.


Need A Part

Young entrepreneurs Andy Abel and Jared Tasker began their new enterprise in a small Wellington garage, and now operate out of NZ Post’s Contract Logistics Warehouse in Auckland.

This innovative company filled a massive gap in the market place - simple supply and demand. For anyone facing a small appliance breakdown, chances are you will find your replacement part here. Stockists of spare-parts for everything from heaters, fans and fridges to electric shavers and toothbrushes, it’s a must to bookmark!

Products are all stocked locally and delivered around the country, solving the infinite frustrations caused by those tiny pieces of plastic or metal that tend to fail all too often around the household.



BioBrew originated in a garage circa 2009, and is the inspiration of Andre Prassinos and Don Pearson, to produce fresh microbial products for the agriculture and equine sectors.

From production in a garage and first sales out of a car boot, within five years this company had manufacturing plants in both the North and South Islands, to meet the needs of rural New Zealand. Last year saw the beginnings of launching EquiBrew into the Colorado market.

Fresh is best, is their point-of-difference. This company’s “living probiotics” are superior in quality to alternative freeze dried or shelf-stabilised products already available.

Probiotics stimulate the immune system, help digestion and improve disease resistance; providing better health and quality of life for the animals. A less grumbly stomach makes for a happier horse!

More products are under development, including a human version to compete in the ever-growing health supplement market.

Back to articles
Free Measure & Quote