Friday, December 23, 2016

Two Cowboys: Advanced Composite Manufacturing for Hand-Built Personalized Fishing Rods at Maven in Auckland, New Zealand

Happy Places

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Marry art, design and modern composite material manufacturing and what do you get? A husband and wife team in New Zealand that works together to make beautiful, one-of-kind, purpose-built fishing rods!

According to Gayleen Pratt, the driving force behind the Maven brand, it is as much about fishing, as it is about engineering beautiful, functional pieces of art. You'll believe her when you see the care she takes to apply a thin layer of lacquer to the windings of a beautiful custom fishing rod. A piece for a lucky customer somewhere in the world. She does it several times over several days to complete a fishing rod that can take up to two weeks to make.



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Maven was inspired by a childhood spent fishing the Firth of Thames. Gayleen grew up in the typical natural Kiwi kid playground of a jetty, on an ocean inlet somewhere on the coast of Aotearoa. It is the place where kids usually pass the time swimming, fishing, playing and generally living the good New Zealand life. It is also where they dream about their future. Gayleen and Stephen never knew that what they may have taken for granted growing up, will one day become an essential part of the inspiring story behind the Maven brand. Artful Fishing.

Maven was launched in Auckland in 2007. Gayleen and Stephen applied their passions for design, technology and off course, fishing, to create something beautiful, functional and unique. They brought it together for something equally at home on super yachts, as it is at the local lake, or a jetty in the hands of a Kiwi kid.

Maven rods blend purist design aesthetics and an impeccable technical pedigree to create a modern classic. Each features a retro-chic longitudinal pinstripe and arch pattern. "The lengthways pinstripe is a world-first for a fishing rod", according to Stephen. "We wanted to create something that would be truly treasured and bring many years of enjoyment. It should be a trusted friend, with which you share many happy moments, in happy places."

Observations


Maven's team works from a state of the art facility situated on the edge of native bushland in Auckland, New Zealand. Their products are jewels of engineering. If you can ever call a fishing rod a piece of art, then this is it.

I am sure some people can get wax-lyrical about their fishing rods. How it helped them to land the big one, or caused it to get away. Granted, Maven's products are beautiful, and they are state-of-the-art. However, we found something more profound than fishing rods during our visit. The real story behind Maven is the passion of two people for engineering and design. This is not so much a fishing rod business, as it is a business for beauty, function and ingenuity.

Stephen walked us through the manufacturing process, and he kept using familiar phrases. Words we've become used to hearing over the months we've been profiling high-achieving producers. "We needed a way to do this, so I made that." "This is different from what other's do, so I made a machine that can do it." "It is a special tool I made to solve that problem."

Stephen may as well be tinkering on the next Pagani or space rocket. The end product will be phenomenal because it is not really about the product. It is in the process, method and ultimately the joy in the journey to get there. No matter what he makes, it is simply a path to, and an outlet for his real passion. The art of engineering and design.

Here is another example. We all know Apple makes great computers and mobile devices. However, it is their design and engineering ingenuity that results in great computers and mobile devices. You can have the right idea, but without the means to pull it off, and the passion for the process of making it, it will forever remain elusive.

I have no doubt that Stephen and Gayleen can take the next project and pull it off as well as they are doing Maven's fishing rods because the smarts and rewards are in the process of designing the making. As with many businesses we discover in far-away little New Zealand, this is yet another example of world-class and remarkable. We are honoured to tell the story and hope you enjoy it with us.

Hendrik van Wyk
Fishing Cowboy

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Photos


Delicate

Perfection


Colours

Steady

Aotearoa Made

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