This lounge features Resene Norway Green, Resene Norway, Resene RiceCake, Resene Quarter Fossil, Resene Pale Leaf, Resene Highland, Photo by Bryce Carleton.
A paint business that was designed 75 years ago in a Wellington garage is still driven by Kiwi ingenuity and an environmental conscience.
It’s been 75 years since New Zealand’s most trusted paint brand was born, and during that time Resene has built a reputation as a leader in the development of environmentally friendly paints.
Resene’s CTO Colin Gooch has been with the company for over 50 of those 75 years and has seen a lot of change during that time. He started with the company on April Fool’s Day in 1970 as the chief (and sole) chemist – and never left. He has overseen many innovations, comparing the improvements in the company’s paints over the years to the difference between a Model T car and the latest BMW.
He considers the 1969 decision to make all of his paints lead-free as one of the company’s greatest environmental achievements.
âIt was a tough and painful journey, but the developments we made during this process are still very useful to us today and underpin our entire color system – a system that is truly world class. . There remains a classic example of the benefits of the future – proofing. “
Although Resene’s environmental credentials have earned her numerous awards and accolades, Colin says many of the company’s socially responsible decisions have not been announced.
âMany years ago a supplier informed us that a certain chemical had suspicious teratogenic properties. There was a ready-made, perfectly safe alternative that cost a little more. In six weeks, we replaced each product with the safest material, absorbed the cost, and brought it to market without much fanfare.
I remain proud of this, especially after seeing the continued use of suspicious material by the rest of the industry for years to come. “
He says the most important contribution paint companies like Resene can make is to create paints that use low impact ingredients, while being as durable and long lasting as possible.
âIt’s our job to make great paint in the safest way possible. If we can double the life of our product, we can halve the carbon footprint. “
Let’s take a look at the highlights of the past 75 years
Wellington builder Ted Nightingale can’t find an alkali-resistant paint to use on concrete, so decides to make his own – in a cement mixer in his garage! He names it Stipplecote and will soon sell it along with a range of other products to the construction industry.
Keen to move away from lead-based and solvent-based paints, Ted launched New Zealand’s first water-based paint under the brand name Resene (so named because resin was a main ingredient). Over the following decades, water-based paints became the norm as consumers began to trust their durability.
In the late 1960s, Resene eliminated lead from all of its decorative paints, well ahead of other companies.
Now under the management of Ted Nightingale’s son, Tony, the paint business begins to establish its own branches across New Zealand to sell directly to artisans, architects, government departments and consumers.
Resene joins the Environmental Choice Program, an independent standards accreditation program that helps Kiwis choose more environmentally friendly products, including Resene’s new water-based glazes developed to replace glazes made from solvent.
The company is launching the Resene PaintWise paint and paint packaging recovery and recycling program, the first such management program in the country for paint and paint packaging. Since then, over six million paint cans have been recycled and over 250,000 liters of recycled paint have been donated to communities for graffiti removal and other projects.
Always innovative, Resene presents its Eco.Decorator program, certifying decorators who are committed to sustainable principles and integrate environmentally friendly practices into their work.
Still family owned and operated (now under Ted’s grandson Nick Nightingale), with its products 100% New Zealand made, for New Zealand conditions, Resene celebrates 75 years of responsibility visionary and gives Kiwis the products and advice they need for a more sustainable future.
* Winner of the Reader’s Digest 2021 Trustmark
To learn more about Resene’s environmental policies, find a Resene eco-decorator near you or choose from thousands of paint colors, visit resene.co.nz/envirochoice.