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Laszlo Boats NZ - KIRS

Introducation

Kiwi International Rowing Skiffs Ltd, for decades the maker of New Zealand's internationally successful racing skiffs, went into liquidation in October, just at the start of the rowing season, putting many schools and clubs in the position of losing the deposits they had already made for much-needed equipment and leaving its highly skilled workforce unemployed.

The firm's chief constructor for more than a decade, Laszlo 'Lez' Kertesz, decided to save these internationally famous designs by purchasing its assets and launching a new venture called Laszlo Boats New Zealand.

KIRS's management had ceased its operations without prior notice to either its customers or its workforce. Kertesz decided that it was important to do something for the schools and clubs, some of which had been saving and fund-raising for years for new boats that were now in danger of being left half-finished, even, in his words, 'after selling all those sausages.'

He was also deeply concerned for his co-workers and for saving their highly developed specialist skills.

Laszlo Boats immediately contacted the schools and clubs in search of a solution, and the rowing community's support has been overwhelmingly appreciative.

Buying the assets, however, did not involve assuming the liability for the previous ownership's defaulting on its obligations. In addition to the risks involved in establishing a new enterprise, Laszlo Boats is determined to honour those obligations, even though not being legally obliged to do so, simply because it is the right thing to do. Building rowing boats is a business, but Laszlo Boats also considers it to be about the people who are passionate about the sport.

Fortunately for Laszlo Boats, such suppliers as Resene Automative Hamilton, Rigtec Engineering Ltd, Colour Code Signs, Ankaa Shoes, Pultron Composites have offered it special packages to minimise the losses involved. The new firm is now just a couple of weeks away from finishing the boats for those schools and clubs whose deposits had disappeared.

'After that,' according to Kertesz, 'the team will carry on doing what it does best: building world-leading rowing skiffs in New Zealand'.

Quotes from schools and clubs:
'After years of fundraising, the expectations and excitement of Hillcrest High School's first new boat purchase was almost scuttled due to the liquidation. The passion and determination of the new owners, Laszlo Boats NZ, to provide a reasonable outcome to complete our boat is amazing.' – Blair Wright, Hillcrest High School

'East Coast Rowing Association is very thankful to Laszlo for carrying on and keeping the rowing racing boat building skills in NZ. East Coast Rowing supply's top racing skiffs to our high performing athletes most of whom are still at school or university.' – Cedric Baylay, East Coast Rowing

'On behalf of the Waikato Rowing Club I would like to say congratulations and thank you for the commitment that you and also all the supporting staff have made. To have this business and boat building remain in the Waikato is very important. We know that Lez, yourself and Hillary are, with your staff are a great team.

This will no doubt be seen on the water in the near future. Again thank you for your effort in getting this business back on track. We look forward to a great working relationship with you in the future. Kind regards to you and your staff, Merry Christmas and a great 2016.' - Ian Paterson. President, Waikato Rowing Club.



 

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