Cactus Outdoor, New Zealand's largest clothing manufacturer, is converting its factory capacity to making face masks, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company, which makes specialist outdoor apparel and supplies the military and energy services, was already manufacturing face masks at its Christchurch facility.
These masks were mainly supplied to rest homes but also sold direct to the public via the Cactus Outdoor website.
With increased demand for the product, Cactus director Ben Kepes said it is shifting a whole factory to manufacturing face masks.
The company has been deemed an essential service by the Government and, despite many older staff now being in self-isolation, others continue to work.
Masks can continue to be couriered to buyers, with one staff member in isolation working on the postage of these.
With one factory already 100 per cent dedicated to manufacturing masks, Cactus is hoping to shift a second Christchurch factory to mask production in the coming days.
"We begun designing these masks six months ago - primarily for our builder, landscaper and gardener customers," Kepes told the Herald.
"We never predicted the current global demand for protective equipment and we're very happy to be able to do our small part at this time. Our staff, many of whom are immigrants who hail from 35 different countries around the world, feel proud that, as new New Zealanders, they're helping to keep their fellow Kiwis safe."
Kepes says Cactus Outdoor has a lot of older staff with underlying health conditions who are currently in self-isolation. The company is currently relying on many younger migrant workers to keep manufacturing its products.
They are working hard to create the reusable masks, using filters made of wool, to meet demand during the lockdown.
However, the company warns this is not a medical product ad it is not PPE certified.
"This face mask is a consumer product. It is not a respirator. It is not a medical device. This face mask is not PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) certified. The filter is tested in-house to P2/N95 level, but the face mask as a whole has not been tested," Cactus says on its website.
The mask is intended for those who need to leave the house for essentials but don't want to wear a scarf or a paper face mask, the company says.