Earth Sea Sky merino was introduced to our range in 2000. Its ability to be worn for ….
Thank-you for your face mask order.
The announcement by the Ministry of Health on 6th August changing its guidance around face mask use in the community created an unprecedented number of orders on our website.
We moved quickly to increase production and by the weekend of 8th August, were confident we had this under control. The news of community transmission of Covid-19 in the Auckland region and the change in levels throughout New Zealand changed this. To our performance outdoor clothing company “avalanche” took on a new meaning.
We have increased production with new machinists added to the team. New staff have also been employed to prepare componentry, compile DIY kits, assemble information sheets, enter orders, answer emails and phone calls. We have been working 7 days a week since the 7th of August and production has been increased by 50 times since then.
Orders are currently being supplied within 2-3 days of ordering
We are holding a small number of masks to accommodate those in a high-risk category or are travelling overseas.
DIY Mask Kits
We are almost up to date with these. Orders are being despatched as soon as components are available.
We are grateful to Lanaco who have increased production and have been working hard to supply us.
Mask and filters
A mask with filter inserted will give you a high level of protection, close to N95 specification when resting. This is far superior to a cloth or disposable surgical mask. The filter should not be washed as this will decrease its level of protection. The mask is designed to be reusable. It is washable, fast-drying, durable and easy to breathe through.
Contaminated filters should be disposed of. The question is ‘how do you know?’
We suggest that in high-risk situations, where people are forced to congregate in confined spaces or you are in constant contact with new people, you dispose of the filter at the end of each day, wash your mask and insert the new filter. Where there is no community transmission, short intermittent periods of use and the environment is low risk, filters could be used for longer periods of time.
For multi-day filter use always follow correct mask-wearing procedures by cleaning hands before fitting your mask and not touching the mask once it is on. If you do, always wash your hands afterwards. On removing the mask and when not washing it, store it in a sealed container and wash your hands. Best practise is, always treat unwashed masks as if they are contaminated.
We have not been able to respond to all the emails and phone calls we have received or answer queries on social media with the speed we usually do.
We intend to catch up on this. Please accept our apologies for the delay you may have experienced. We have hundreds of messages requiring a reply.
New Zealand Made
Our masks are the very best of kiwi ingenuity. The filter manufacturers, Lanaco, use a grown-to-purpose wool from Central Otago and we have drawn on our technical fabric knowledge to select a durable, fast drying, porous fabric that matches the porosity of their filter. Our masks offer good protection levels and unhindered breathability and our product is the combination of four New Zealand manufacturers involving filter fibre blending and the construction of filters, elastic and masks.
Earth Sea Sky Team
A month later than usual, our Dunedin Pop-up is back!! 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.
Address:186 George Street (next to north side of Farmers, opposite Bivouac)
Opening days: Saturday 6th June – Sunday 21st June
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am – 6pm & Sun 10am – 4pm
Our Store Staff
Martin Freeman and Kelvin Floyd work for Indigena Biosecurity International (http://www.indigena.co.nz/), an ecological management company committed to the conservation and restoration of the world’s natural areas. These two New Zealanders spent this summer working on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic.
Indigena Biosecurity International was contracted by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) to implement a non-native plant management strategy. This involves working around the island surveying and controlling invasive plant species. They also undertook field work in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for the Darwin Initiative funded project Securing South Georgia’s native habitats. This work involved monitoring vegetation changes, sampling the soil seed bank, and assessing seed dispersal to inform native plant and habitat management.
South Georgia has an area of 3,528 square kilometres, with mountains up to 3000m and with two thirds covered in permanent ice with many glaciers ending in the sea. All work around the island is done on foot, with boats used to access the areas separated by the glaciers. Much of the time they were based out of the King Edward Point research station, which is operated by the British Antarctic Survey. To get to many more remote sites however, meant staying in small field huts or working from a working from the GSGSSI fisheries patrol vessel.
South Georgia is well known for its extreme weather, so you need to be prepared for katabatic winds strong enough to take you off your feet, snow at any time or foehn winds taking the temperature into the twenties. They approached Mike from Earth Sea Sky for some decent gear for this year’s field season. Having good quality gear is essential to keep yourselves comfortable while working somewhere it can change so quickly.
Martin and Kelvin were both thoroughly satisfied with what they received from Earth Sea Sky. The Turbo Guide softshell jacket was worn every 2 out of 3 days (for 3 months straight) in all the different weather conditions South Georgia can throw at you. They were impressed with the range of temperature and conditions that the jacket was suitable for. In addition, it was perfectly compact and could easily fit into a bag during those rare hot days. Having all those pockets was a bonus as well for keeping gloves, hats, phone, GPS unit, notebooks, and all other essentials easily accessible when working in the field.
Other Earth Sea Sky products used by Martin and Kelvin during their time in South Georgia, were the Power Wool base layers and Stealth pullover top, all of which were perfect for everyday use. Indigena Biosecurity International appreciates the products supplied by Earth Sea Sky and we are so pleased that our staff were able to have such quality gear to keep them comfortable in such extreme working conditions.
Earth Sea Sky is no stranger to making gear that your life might depend on. For decades, our Christchurch-based company has produced outdoor clothing for the world’s toughest environments and has been a go to brand for Antarctica New Zealand and Land SAR. Now we have entered a new market of protective face masks using New Zealand grown merino filters.
Behind the Mask Production
Our multi-tasker Jane Ellis started researching protective face masks just a few days into New Zealand’s Level 4 coronavirus lockdown, when the country’s shortage of PPE gear hit the headlines. Brenda, a skilled machinist and our long-time outworker, was keen to help too. From the safety of their own “bubbles”, the pair debated the merits of various designs and fabrics for everything from scrubs to masks and came up with ad-hoc samples.
Jane says they were well placed to respond when Auckland-based company Lanaco put a call out for manufacturers capable of producing face masks using its merino Helix.iso™ filters. Lanaco has been developing air filter media from purpose bred Astino sheep in Central Otago for about seven years; its filters are used for workplace health and safety purposes and for people to wear in countries with poor air quality.
CEO Nick Davenport says it seemed like a no-brainer to ramp up production to help address the need for PPE gear. “One of our staff members is from Hong Kong and was aware of a community mask programme there which had open sourced a design, but of course the main problem with making your own product is if a mask is just a piece of cloth it does not actually give you any protection,” he says.
“Our filter technology provides a really, really low breathing resistance plus the ability to capture dangerous particles. We saw an opportunity to help people in New Zealand by releasing as much filter media as we could and a design for a mask that actually works.” The idea was that a community manufacturing programme could provide an option for consumers who could not access products such as the N95. “We put feelers out and Earth Sea Sky was one of the first manufacturers to pick it up. They’ve been fantastic to deal with – they totally get it.”
Jane reflects that a good thing about being a small business is the ability to be nimble and adapt quickly; the downside is how keenly it feels the effects of disruptive events like Covid-19. “We feel a responsibility towards our workers and their livelihoods, so we were actively seeking ways to utilise members of our team who were keen to work. “We were contacted by Ryan Jennings from Buy New Zealand Made who said, ‘Hey, here’s an opportunity’, and it sounded like a good fit. We design and make performance clothing, which protects people from the elements. A mask is just another protection layer.”
Two weeks after the call with Lanaco, Earth Sea Sky’s first Helix.iso™ filters Masks started rolling off the production line. Jane says having the right fabric was key to maximize the masks’ performance. “The downside of home-made masks is that many use cotton or merino which retain moisture. We needed a fabric that provided minimal resistance to breathing, dried quickly and was also durable.” Earth Sea Sky sourced a breathable, fast-drying polypropylene fabric using the expertise of its head honcho David Ellis.
We are now selling packs of two masks (one to wash and one to wear) for $59.90 and single mask packs for $44.90. Each pack contains seven filters, which is intended for a weeks’ supply in an environment where there is close contact with other people throughout the day, particularly those who may be vulnerable or sick.
Earth Sea Sky recognised Lanaco’s intention to make its system available to as many in the community as possible, so to make its own masks more affordable, it decided to offer DIY kits containing cut mask pieces, nose wire and elastic with sewing instructions online for $9.90. A pack of seven filters is $25.
Helix.isoTM Helix.iso™ filters Masks would be ideal for work environments where close contact with people is required such as physiotherapists, rest home workers and taxi/bus drivers. The masks could also be worn by immunocompromised people during the ordinary flu season or in environments where dust is an issue.
Lanaco believes its filters provide an adequate level of protection, provided the wearer is not physically exerting themselves. It recommends carefully replacing the filter as frequently as practical and as often as one can afford to. Brenda, who produced Earth Sea Sky’s first 600 masks from her workshop before its factory had permission to start up again, says she was pleased to be involved in “something that counts” during lockdown.
Jane says it was greatt to have a project to get Earth Sea Sky’s team of machinists back on deck. “Just keeping our factory workroom ticking over is huge for us,” she says. “I don’t think you can look after your community better than by giving someone a job.” Brenda, who produced Earth Sea Sky’s first 600 masks from her workshop before its factory had permission to start up again, says she was pleased to be involved in “something that counts” during lockdown.
About the Helix.iso™ filter Mask
The Helix.iso™ filter Mask combines a reusable mask body and a disposable, eco-friendly filter element designed to provide an effective filter for Covid-19. At a walking pace, protection is provided from more than 80% of dangerous particles. Helix.iso™ filter is a scientifically developed and proven respiratory filter system developed in New Zealand to protect respiratory health. Helix.iso™ filter was developed by Lanaco during the global Covid-19 outbreak to allow a system of replaceable elements to be used in a washable mask that is accessible for the public. A key feature of Helix.iso™ filter technology is its extremely low breathing resistance, which makes it easy to wear. Common FAQs are here.
Lanaco is a deep science technology company based in Auckland, which has spent a decade developing its organic/hybrid Helix.iso™ Filter media based on the science of DNA genetics from specially selected sheep flocks. The sheep it sources fibre from are bred in New Zealand to produce a unique and high performing wool fibre optimised for filtration. Helix.iso™ Filters are manufactured at the company’s Auckland facility.
For more information
Earth Sea Sky Equipment Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand
P: 033390126 M: 0210344082 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
We fully support the NZ Government’s declaration of a nationwide shutdown for all non-essential businesses that came into place at 11.59 pm on Wednesday night, 25 March, for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Open Online for Essential Items
We have registered with MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) to supply masks, thermal and waterproof clothing and insulated jackets. Orders are being processed remotely and despatched daily under COVID-19 Level 4 conditions (see below).
Online and emailed orders of non-essential items will continue to be taken. However, no despatch will be possible until after the lockdown is lifted. The original advice was that this would be in 4 weeks but we are mindful that this could be extended.
Masks, using disposable Lanaco filters, will be available the week after Easter. Supply will be limited to the filters available. Filters can be purchased separately in packs of 7. There is a pattern that can be downloaded if you prefer to make your own mask.
Gift cards are emailed and can be sent immediately.
Our despatch person is set up to operate in isolation and will be processing orders daily.
Other than this, we are working from home and can answer emails and clear any messages left on our office answerphone.
NOTE: We are only able to supply essential items within New Zealand at this time. Orders can be taken for overseas deliveries but despatch will not be possible until current restrictions are lifted and will also be dependent on the situation in the country the orders are being taken from.
Operating Under Covid-19 Conditions
New Zealand Government supply conditions for Essential non-food consumer products are as follows:
Businesses are able to sell essential non-food consumer products, provided they do so in a way that protects the public and minimises the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
In order to provide essential non-food consumer products, businesses must comply with the following conditions:
- Orders must be taken online or by phone only. Storefronts must not be open and the public should not be able to visit stores to select or collect goods.
- Orders must be for only essential non-food consumer products.
- In fulfilling orders, businesses must take all appropriate public health measures (eg physical distancing, hygiene basics, appropriate personal protective equipment for staff).
- Orders must be home delivered in a contactless way (ie there is no physical interaction between the deliverer and customer).
- The business must inform MBIE of its intention to offer essential non-food products for sale, and provide a list of the products they intend to offer. (See below for more information on how to do this.)
Our garments are made on-site, in our Christchurch workroom, in Dunedin and by a number of outworkers. We are in the process of applying to have our Christchurch workroom able to make masks.
We have put our Christchurch pop-up on hold. Once restrictions are lifted it is likely we will open again for a short time but this will hinge on the level of operation that is permitted. Meantime, thank-you to those of you who have supported us at the Pop-up, to those who have continued to order and to all of you for your interest in Earth Sea Sky.
While this is a difficult time for everyone, the positives are already evident for the environment, for the strength of local communities and for local made. These are all at the heart of what motivates us. Keep safe and enjoy getting into the outdoors, even if it is in a more limited way.
Our Nelson pop-up store is open!!
The same space as last year. As always, we are happy to assist with any queries about fabrics, products and to assist with any repairs or to hear about your favourite original Earth Sea Sky garment.
In our bid to have no waste there are fabric scraps free to anyone who can use them. The initiatives we have seen these used for are inspiring.
And, we do have a selection of children’s clothing:)
Address: Corner Collingwood & Hardy St, Nelson 7010
Opening days: 8th Jan – 8th Feb
Opening hours: MON-SAT 9am – 6pm | SUN & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 10am – 4pm
MON 8th Feb 10am – 2pm
Our Store Staff
‘Our Far South’ is the land and ocean south of Stewart Island that either belongs to or has a strong connection to New Zealand. Gareth Morgan instigated the project to help make more Kiwis aware of the treasures on their back doorstep—our subantarctic islands and the Ross Dependency in Antarctica itself. His vision was to take 50 New Zealanders to see it all, prepare them with a series of lectures from experts on board, then let them loose to tell their friends and communities about everything.I was welcomed onto the team as a science communicator and joined by others including business people, engineers, environmentalists, a fisher, a diplomat, a regional council enforcement officer, a pilot and scientists. We travelled by sea on a Heritage Expeditions trip from Bluff to McMurdo Sound and back, stopping off at five subantarctic island groups. It took 30 days.
I made contact with Jane from Earth Sea Sky after purchasing some essential gear from Bivouac, who supported the trip with a generous discount to the crew. At Earth Sea Sky, from family members Jane, David and Michael Ellis, I learned told me about the family connection with Antarctica.
“David’s father Murray was part of the team that built the original Scott Base and helped keep the tractors going on the way to the South Pole in the 1957-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.”
The expedition was a commonwealth effort and New Zealand was supporting the British team (led by Dr Vivian Fuchs, head of the British Antarctic Survey) who left from Shackleton Base on the Weddell Sea. Fuchs planned to travel across the continent via the South Pole and end up at Scott Base on the Ross Sea side of the continent. The kiwis put in supply depots for them from Scott Base to the polar plateau and were never meant to go to the pole, but Sir Edmund Hillary, the leader of the New Zealand party, decided to make a ‘dash for the pole’, despite being warned off by Fuchs and beat them to it.
Personal highlights were visits to three of the historic huts erected by Scott and Shackleton more than 100 years ago, experiencing McMurdo Sound and Mt Erebus in silent icy beauty at 4 am and sitting on a beach surrounded by curious king penguins. Such moments have increased my sense of wonder for the natural world south of Stewart Island and why it deserves all our efforts to protect it.
My Earth Sea Sky gear was great. Of course, the Hydrophobia performed brilliantly when I got a good dousing on a zodiac boat, and the trousers allowed comfortably for an expanded waistline from the delicious cooked breakfasts and three-course dinners on board. Their garments made for Antarctica New Zealand kept many others of the crew warm and comfortable and was doing a great job keeping the staff at Scott Base toasty warm and looking good in the distinctive orange and black colours.
Sarah’s trip blog can be found at www.descipher.co.nz/ourfarsouth