US Ambassador Scott Brown visited Rotorua's Kilwell offices to see the strong partnership between our countries in action before hitting the Redwoods forest.

Brown was hosted by Rotorua MP Todd McClay as he showed off the best of what Rotorua has to offer America.

"I invited him here to look around Rotorua, and the team at Kilwell do a lot of work with the United States so I thought it was a good opportunity to show the high-tech side of Rotorua's industry."

Kilwell is owned and managed by the third generation of the Wells family and has a legacy of designing and manufacturing fishing rods.


However, many of the products manufactured by its associated business Kilwell Fibretube, such as weapons for the Star Wars movies, go unrecognised.

US Ambassador Scott Brown visits Rotorua's Kilwell offices with MP Todd McClay. Photo / Stephen Parker
US Ambassador Scott Brown visits Rotorua's Kilwell offices with MP Todd McClay. Photo / Stephen Parker

Kilwell chief executive Craig Wilson said as a company Kilwell had a strong commercial relationship with the United States.

"Exports-wise we have some good, strong customers in America and a lot of components that end up there through other companies in Australia.

"We also import American products from big companies such as Winchester, Buck, Orvis and Mossberg."

Brown was given the opportunity to hold a lightsaber and taken through the factory to see the process of production.

The recent innovation of 3D printing has shifted creativity at the company, which is manufacturing the Hemo Gorge roundabout sculpture, and Brown was shown the prototype and pieces being put together.

"It's always nice to showcase what we do because a lot of people don't know that we're more than just fishing rods," Wilson said.

"The US is a very strong growth sector for us."


Brown said it was an honour to be shown around Rotorua by McClay.

"He's a really hard worker for the Rotorua region.

"It's been good to see the city, and a company that started from making fishing rods in New Zealand to now learning about and using all of this technology is really fascinating."

After the tour of Kilwell Brown had lunch with McClay and a business roundtable with representatives from Rotorua businesses.

He ended the trip mountain biking in the Redwoods.

"I will be using a bike which has a mix of US and New Zealand engineering, which is reflective of what we're trying to achieve here."