Trio shape up for shot at world toy market

By Rosemary Roberts

Three Whangarei citizens have been having blokes' shed fun designing and making kitsets of layered animal and fish shapes dubbed Greatures, which they hope will make a small contribution towards creating a cleaner world.

The Greatures are also fun for children and a stimulus to learning.

Talking about fun, there had been no shortage of that as the project had evolved, said instigator Tae Hoon Kim, a travel writer for Korean publications and graphic designer. The word "addictive" was also mentioned.

He and old friends Han Park, also a graphic designer, and Bok Kim, a former aircraft engineer, began working on the concept about two years ago.

Tae Hoon Kim was so confident the kitsets would catch on that he invested in a computerised laser cutter, which cut out the layers that made up the shapes, and traced out the lines which show where the overlapping shapes are to be glued.

The range of whales, dinosaurs, kiwi and horses and their boxes are made from non-toxic New Zealand-made recycled and recyclable cardboard - even safe to chew or suck if younger children get at the Greatures - and surprisingly strong.

Asked where they were manufacturing the product, the three men burst out laughing. "My shed," said Tae Hoon Kim.

He was convinced that Greatures could be a pointer to thinking about making toys of recyclable materials after attending the 2011 World Toy Fair at Nuremburg in Germany, he said.

"I found it really disturbing that most of the toys at the fair were made from plastic, as well as the fact that most plastic is used for such a short time and then stays around for the next 200-300 years."

Greatures are three adopted Northlanders' way of fighting back, and they are aiming to give international toy buyers something to think about when they present the product at the 2013 World Toy Fair.


- Northern Advocate

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