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Apparel manufacturer

Charlie Carter-Johnson

On moving to New Zealand…

I’m originally from South Africa. I came to New Zealand in 1987 to have a look and I loved the place, so I stayed. There is a lot that is great about it: the lifestyle, it’s much safer than other places in the world and it is politically stable.  

On working in the apparel industry…

When I moved to New Zealand I started doing lawn mowing, and saw an opportunity. I got some machines and started a CMT (Cut, Make, Trim) business that successfully ran for 24 years. I closed it in 2011 and now I have a small outfit called CMT Stuff. It’s very difficult to make money in the apparel industry in New Zealand because the majority of it has gone offshore

On advice for those starting out in apparel in New Zealand…

If you’re starting out in apparel, get trained in many facets of the industry – you will have more opportunity that way. And like with everything, do it right the first time.

On living in Northland…

It’s real life, it’s great. I’m close to the beach, there’s fresh air and no traffic issues. Plus I’ve got volcanic soil – everything grows really well. I’ve got a hundred avocado trees so far, with a target of 500. 

On the topic of sustainability …

Where we can we need to buy local, to buy products that are made or grown in New Zealand. Importing garlic is insane.

On creative New Zealand …

Malls have reached an entire new level of boring: same, same. They are all the same. New Zealand markets, on the other hand, are creative, down-to-earth, and quite special. One person makes hats, another weaving. I go to the markets every weekend – whether it’s Kumeu or Waipu.

On someone significant in my life…

My pops, he had good vision.

On family life in New Zealand…

I have a 16 year old son and raising him here has been fantastic – the education, the opportunity. He’s just started training at Ardmore flight school.  

On being grateful…

I’m grateful every day, in some way. I believe in enjoying what you have. 

On having access to world-class health care…

If you ask anyone if they’d rather have their health or money, we know what they’d choose. 

On being part of Great Full…

Anything that helps kids has got to be awesome.