A Rotorua manufacturing company will begin producing one million litres of hand sanitiser a month in a bid to help prevent a repeat of the nationwide shortages seen during the Covid-19 crisis.

Damar Industries will sell the sanitiser under the brand name SaniHero and is promising Kiwis a superior brand of hand sanitiser.

According to a press statement released by Damar, this new development will also give government procurement departments an option to buy through a local supplier, as opposed to the products made offshore.

Damar makes ethanol-based consumer products and made the decision to broaden its production in the face of surging customer demand for sanitiser and other cleaning products.

Damar chief executive Chris Bradley. Photo / Andrew Warner
Damar chief executive Chris Bradley. Photo / Andrew Warner

"During the early days of Covid-19 we saw widespread out of stock situations and it was clear that the reliance on imported sanitiser is a risk to individuals, our frontline workers and our wider medical services," Scott Thomson, founding director of Damar Industries, said.

"The lack of supply of an essential product is untenable and left many people exposed and pressured into paying vastly inflated prices.

"We believe Kiwis deserve to have access to products they need to keep them safe and we are absolutely committed to helping them do this."

Thomson said the launch of SaniHero not only provided an option beyond imported supplies but also supported local business efforts and more jobs of Kiwis.

SaniHero is an entirely new category for the 34-year-old family-owned business.

"Our Rotorua plant can easily produce sanitiser since it falls into our current area of expertise. We are currently developing a hospital-grade sanitiser to enable our DHB's to source locally as well," Thomson said.

Thomson said supply shortages would be a thing of the past for New Zealand when Damar was up to full capacity.

"This is a win-win. Not only does this manufacturing initiative enable us to continue to employ locals in the community but it also helps with the fight against Covid-19."


Mitre 10 NZ is the first local retailer to get on board with the Made in New Zealand product and Damar Industries anticipates other retailers will soon follow.

The SaniHero sanitizers are available in a 500ml pump bottle and a 1L refill pouch and an aerosol surface spray. Additional range extensions are currently being worked on.