Dunedin Pop-up!! 7th – 22nd May

 

Our annual Autumn popup is booked. We look forward to catching up with our southern customers.  Dunedin is home to the skilled workroom that makes our waterproof, primaloft and down garments.

Dates:  Saturday 7th May – Sunday 22nd May

Address: 343 George Street (between Modaks Espresso and Tokyo Garden)

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat 9am – 6pm, Sun 10am – 4pm

Contact: theweb@earthseasky.co.nz or 03 3390126


Shop Location


 

 

 

HMNZS Aotearoa – Sails to Antarctica

For the first time in 50 years a New Zealand navy supply ship has travelled to Antarctica waters.  In January HMNZS Aotearoa berthed at McMurdo Station with supplies to support Antarctica New Zealand’s scientific research programme and the Scott Base re-build.

The HMNZS Aotearoa is a $500 million maritime sustainment vessel. Last year it assisted with New Zealand’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation in Tonga. The HMNZS Aotearoa can refuel ships at sea, has water generation  and cargo carrying capacity. Importantly for this mission it is polar rated for sailing in McMurdo Sounds pack ice.

The Navy made an initial approach to Earth Sea Sky mid-August 2021 to obtain a full ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) wardrobe for each crew member. Their initial wish list was for the same clothing issued to Antarctica New Zealand, a wardrobe built for extended polar field work and winter conditions. McMurdo Sound in late summer is not as extreme.

From our past experience working with emergency clothing for NIWA’s Southern Ocean vessel, RV Tangaroa, coastal polar conditions need a different emphasis on design and performance. Essentially it is a short-term survival scenario in damp, very cold but not extreme, cold conditions. The clothing needs to offer maximum warmth using fast dry insulation and fabric. The outer layers need to be waterproof and windproof and, like all efficient polar wardrobes, have layering options underneath so the wearer can add or remove thermal garments depending on their activity, the ambient temperature and wind chill.

It took a number of weeks to decide on the best combination of clothes.

The large outer jacket (large enough to fit a multiple of layers underneath) was the Antarctica NZ’s Turbo Guide. Labelled as a soft shell it’s waterproof laminate between the outer face and soft slippery liner is technically a waterproof hard shell. It is very breathable but 100% windproof. It has a tuck away hood in the collar and is made in a highly visible mango orange colour.

Turbo Guide 

Underneath this jacket is a hooded Primaloft® jacket the Nano. Primaloft is the equivalent of synthetic down. It is light, very bulky, thermally efficient but the most important characteristic is the loft doesn’t collapse when wet. This is the perfect insulation material in a wet, temperate environment. For most Antarctica NZ personnel at Scott Base in summer, the Nano is their go-to garment. Their heavier, and very bulky, down filled ECW jacket is largely redundant at this time of year. The Navy’s Nano is black with a distinctive dash of mango orange under the arms.

Nano Primaloft

Under the Nano Jacket is the second thermal garment. A Polartec® brushed polyester polar fleece. Despite all the discussion about natural fibre, brushed polyester is still the most thermally efficient knitted fabric available for outdoor use (thermal efficiency is warmth for weight). Polar fleece has another two very important properties – it does not absorb water, so it is fast drying, and it allows water vapour from the body to pass through it unhindered. Both of these things are very important when working physically hard in Antarctica.

Lava Jacket   (Women’s)                                             Nitro  (Men’s)

For below the waist we provided our waterproof Rocket Guide Salopettes (waterproof, bib front overtrousers) and two pairs of Italian microfleece pants.

Rocket Guide Salopettes                                 Micropants

These with a microfleece balaclava and newly designed fleece lined gauntlet mitten meant each crew member was issued with eight items of clothing.

Balaclava                                                            Gauntlet Mittens

Once the range was approved and the sizes confirmed we had only eight weeks to manufacture 875 items of clothing. This was a daunting task for both our factories especially for the very time consuming and specialised Turbo, Nano and Rocket Guide Salopettes.

We were conscious of two things as the deadline loomed – for the crew, a ship cannot sail without the crew dressed and for our staff, Christmas is not the same without a holiday.

When watching the account of the voyage our eyes, naturally, focus on the clothing.

 

 

Christchurch Pop-up 2022 DELAYED

 Dates: to be advised

 

UPDATE: Due to Covid infiltrating our team our 2022 popup is delayed.

Dates:  After Easter, late April/May.

Address: Retail 8, 21 Humphries Drive, Ferrymead (next to Ray White and across from Metro Cafe. Faces out towards the Estuary)

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat 9am – 6pm, Sun 10am – 4pm

Contact: theweb@earthseasky.co.nz or 03 3390126

Alix-in-the-Wild: Te Araroa Trail

Alix de Lamotte, Is a French globetrotter, mechanical engineer and naval architect, who grew up in the French Alps.  She is, ‘Super keen about technology and performance in sports.’

Her enthusiasm, resourcefulness and  love of people led her to move to New Zealand.   Here one of her ‘incredible experiences,’  included working in Emirates Team New Zealand, and winning the America’s cup sailing race in 2017. Until Covid, she mainly worked in the race yacht field.

Craving new challenges, and in lockdown, she planned a new adventure: the Te Araroa trail. This is New Zealand’s longest tramping route at 3,000 kilometres, spanning the length of the North and South Islands. Tramping the full length of the trail takes four to six months.

Searching for support with  gear, food and or budget Alix contacted Earth Sea Sky, ‘..because I appreciate both the quality of your gears and the philosophy of sustainability and 100% NZ made.’

 

Alix’s wardrobe:

Waterproof Jacket                                       Zeal Guide
Waterproof Pants                                        Vent X Overtrousers
Undergarments                                            Crop Top and Merino Boxers
Next-to-skin                                                  Power Dry T
Next-to-skin & Sun protection                   Silk Weight Long Sleeve
Next-to-skin thermal bottoms                   Spider Leggings
Trousers                                                        Flash
Next-to-skin/next layer                               Stealth
Thermal warmth                                          Helium
Feet                                                                Trekker socks
Head                                                              Merino Beanie
Neck                                                               Ninja

Note: New Zealanders would usually choose Taslan or Fast Track shorts to tramp in but Alix prefers trousers ‘European DNA deeply in me!’ 

You can follow Alix’s journey on Facebook and Instagram.

Blake – Fiordland Crested Penguin

Our introduction to Blake was an email in 2021:

“I have a grubby black hydrophobia jacket hanging in my wardrobe, however to me it’s more than just a jacket. Let me explain. This jacket has been on top of mountains and in the bottom of canyons. It has been a semi-permanent shelter, it’s made me new friends as they laughed at the kiwi in the trench coat, it’s full of stories and I know it’s going to come with me to more amazing places!”

Kia ora my name is Blake, I am an outdoor guide, photographer and marine science student based in Dunedin. I love the Earth Sea Sky ethos and am excited to be using their gear to explore and study in some of New Zealand’s most remote locations. 

When I think of Earth Sea Sky, I think of dark green forests and deep turquoise water. I think of standing on precarious ridgelines and scanning the horizon for a whale’s spout. While sitting on the balcony of my Dunedin flat looking out at the Otago Peninsula my mind drifts back to these memories and where I have been with that now grubby jacket. 

This jacket was a necessity during my first season working in Fiordland. I was a kayak guide for Rosco’s Milford kayaks, the perfect job to explore the amazing rivers and mountains in Milford. I remember early mornings getting out of bed with the rain hammering on the roof, and after a quick check of the weather forecast putting on my coat and walking down to the boat shed. It rains more than 180 days a year in Milford, this creates an incredible moody landscape, perfect for feeling small and insignificant. Fiordland is known in Māori as Ata Whenua which translates to the shadowlands. 

On the way to the top of Fiordland’s most iconic peak in the summer of 2020. We sat watching kea and rock wren until the sun set to the south of Mitre peak. The temperature dropped quickly so we ran about setting up camp and putting on warm layers. Michael Bollen in the Earth Sea Sky fleece. 

The hydrophobia has been perfect for working in southwest New Zealand. Here we sit to download footage of Yellow-eyed penguins from our trail cameras, you can see how important it is to stay dry in the rain forest. Then volunteering for DOC, running a trapping line near the top of Resolution Island, in Dusky sound. I remember this day, all of a sudden it went from a bluebird day to a snow storm…

 

So now I pack my bags again to head to Fiordland and of course my hydrophobia jacket is in there (plus a few other warm & dry Earth Sea Sky layers). This time I am going to collect data for my MSc research on foraging ecology of Fiordland crested penguins or Tawaki with the Tawaki Project (tawaki-project.org). Over the next year we will monitor Tawaki from boats, kayaks, caves all to follow the Tawaki breading season in Fiordland. You’ll hear more from the field soon!

Note from Earth Sea Sky: Blake’s reference to ‘grubby’ refers to the well worn look through many days of wear in rugged conditions. A cleaning programme for all waterproof clothing is important to ensure body oil contamination does not cause delamination issues.

 

Sam the Trap Man

Hamiora Gibson (Sam the Trap Man), is a keen outdoors man, who has recently been selected as a semi-finalist for the Kiwi Bank New Zealander of the year awards. He runs the Eastern Whio Link conservation project – a 25,000ha hunter led project, run in partnership with Matawai Marae. This important project has recently been selected as a finalist in the NZ Biodiversity Awards as well as receiving Jobs for Nature funding. It incorporates Western Science and Matauranga Māori approaches to inform the management decisions. He is passionate about reconnecting people with the land and unpacking ecosystem services in a way that is easily digestible for people.

Our association started with Hamiora through a pair of Mercury Leggings! Early in 2021 he wrote to us:

“I have been wearing your Mercury leggings since 2013 and have only needed two pairs in that time period. They are amazing and the most comfortable and hard wearing thermals I have found and I’m in them every day.” – Sam the Trap Man

He needed a new pair which we sent to him along with a Power Dry Long Sleeve top which is now part of his ‘essential wear.

The Eastern Whio Link kaupapa was started by a small group of hunters who had watched our Whio (blue duck) slowly disappearing from the streams in the area we hunt. It started off as a hunter led conservation project, trapping stoats and fledging Whio chicks. But it quickly grew to be something bigger. We now have 7 educational organisations using the project as their classrooms, over 100 volunteers, and really strong relationships with Tangata Whenua. We are looking after many more species than just Whio; Kiwi, bats, Raukumara Tusked Weta, Hochstetters Frog and many smaller bird species are all part of the programme now. We have been selected as finalists for the NZ Biodiversity awards amongst other recognitions and are also starting to attract international media attention.

 But why do we do what we do and what motivated us to get started? Well I guess we just saw an opening, an opportunity to help and create a conservation project that was reflective of who we are as hunters and what we do as an East Coast community. On the East Coast we hunt and fish mostly to feed our whanau, that’s what it’s all about, gathering kai, feeding the whānau and enjoying every adventure along the way. We started the project just after the Tahr debate had kicked off and really felt that we couldn’t identify with the type of hunter that was being portrayed in the media at that time. We were fully aware of the damage deer and other species are doing to our Ngahere. In fact, they were directly outcompeting us for our traditional vegetables such as Kareao and Pikopiko tips. 

 We saw ourselves as hunters that were part of the ecosystem, part of a solution rather than the problem and we actively targeted hinds in an effort to lower deer numbers to reduce the impact of these introduced animals to native ecosystems. We saw ourselves as understanding ecosystems better than most people in NZ as many of our volunteers have science and biodiversity backgrounds. However,  we also knew that by sitting on the sidelines we weren’t helping anyone. So we decided to put our money where our mouths were and adopt the upper Waioeka Catchment as an area of land that we would start to look after. The Upper Waioeka Catchment is 25,000ha of predominantly public conservation land, with a world renowned trout fishing river running through it. There are red, deer fallow and wild pigs as well as  a smattering of really incredible remnant populations of natives.

 We wanted to create a project that reflected who we were and what our culture was. We hoped that creating a positive hunter led initiative would support the public to see hunters in a new light. We set about using our bush knowledge and matauranga Maori mixed in with a good dash of western science to identify key areas of interest. We used trout abundance and condition to identify good Whio habitat. It’s no secret that good trout country is good Whio country as they both need an abundance of insect larvae to eat. The fishermen in our community were more than happy to share their favourite stretches of river with us if it meant once again being able to see Whio bouncing down the rapids beside them as they fished.

We started to monitor deer impact by using traditional kai species such as Kareao and Pikopiko. These are species that we eat in the bush, in place of vegetables, because carrying in fresh vegetables isn’t practical. Possum impacts were measured using Tawa fruiting, while rat impacts were measured by the chew marks left on various fruit kernels. 

 In short, we created a project that didn’t subscribe to common conservation theory or other widely accepted methodologies. It came from us, our people and our ecosystems. In the first year, every pair of Whio we were supporting successfully fledged chicks who went on to establish their own territories within the project. We had now successfully tripled the known Whio population in these rivers.

 In the second year, COVID struck and more and more people, stuck at home, started to crave the bush and our wild places. They found their escape from reality  in the hills and rivers of the Waioeka and, in return, they chose to give back by volunteering for the Eastern Whio Link.

 I guess it’s this that drives us. We see the Eastern Whio Link, not as a conservation project, but as a vehicle to help people engage with their natural environments and a place to build ecosystem literacy through spending time understanding seasons and interactions between species. While there are some huge biodiversity gains that come from the project, the most impactful work is facilitating peoples reconnection to the whenua and to themselves. We host people from all walks of life, stressed CEO’s from Auckland, single mothers working three jobs, and kids where the classroom just simply isn’t the best classroom for them. The Eastern Whio Link lights a little fire in people to spend time in nature and regain balance in themselves.

Eastern Whio Link, is about supporting the ecosystems that support us, about doing some trapping and hoping that our efforts are enough so that we can continue to hunt, fish and forage in our wild places for generations to come.

You can read more about us here.

The Polartec® Story

One of the most significant events in the history of performance outdoor clothing was the arrival of knitted polyester Polar Fleece.

Two and a half times warmer for its weight than any natural fibre and absorbing less than 3% of its weight in moisture, it rapidly became sought after for being the most efficient   insulation layer for the outdoors. To this day nothing has topped it for thermal efficiency and fast drying ability.

Polar Fleece was the innovation of the Massachusetts company, Malden Mills. Branded Polartec®, this fabric was first released just a few years before Earth Sea Sky was founded back in 1990.

Fitting our commitment to using only the best fabrics for performance and durability an enduring relationship was formed between ourselves and the Malden Mills team.

Tragically in 1996 fire destroyed the mill. CEO and owner, Aaron Feuerstein, 70 years old at the time, could have walked away with the insurance pay out and lived comfortably. However, he chose to keep his 3,000 staff employed and paid and to rebuild the mill. Further, he continued to find a way to keep supplying his customers, even Earth Sea Sky one of his smallest, located on the other side of the world.

Sadly, Aaron Feuerstein passed away earlier this month in Boston aged 95 years.  David Ellis, Earth Sea Sky CEO noted our debt saying: ‘Earth Sea Sky essentially owes our existence to Aaron Feuerstein.’

The cost of his actions after the fire eventually resulted in the company filing for bankruptcy but Aaron Feurerstein maintained that though worthless on paper   the company was worth so much more.

Photo:The Associated Press. Aaron Feuerstein in 2003

Malden Mills did not patent the word ‘Polar’. Many inferior look alike products appeared under the generic Polar Fleece name. Malden Mills registered the term Polartec® and marketed their entire range under it. It was a clever rear-guard action – as Polartec® was seen as the only reliable quality brand amongst a multitude of copiers.

Polartec® continues to be the leading innovator, offering the best quality, performance, and durability for an impressive catalogue of outdoor fabric from base layers to outer waterproof protection and all the thermal layers in-between.

We frequently have customers visit wearing their Earth Sea Sky Polartec® garments that are 20+ years old and still going strong.

Liz, with her original Polartec® 200 jacket

As well as fleece we use the Polartec® base layer range of bicomponent (wicking and moisture dispersing) fabrics.

All Earth Sea Sky garments using Polartec® fabrics have the distinctive three triangle Polartec® logo sewn into the side seam.

From the other side of the world Earth Sea Sky salutes you Mr Feuerstein for your vision, sincerity and kindness.

David and Kendon, Arthurs Pass in Polartec® Power Dry® and Power Grid® base layers

Mask Information

Kea: New Zealand’s Character Bird at Risk

Our Merino Story

Earth Sea Sky merino was introduced to our range in 2000. Its ability to be worn for ….

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