The face mask industry could be "game-changing" for New Zealand's wool exports, says Nick Davenport.
Davenport's company Lanaco uses specialist-breed New Zealand Astino wool as the key ingredient in a vast range of air filtration applications.
Lanaco was already busy creating air filtration products before Covid-19 changed everything, Davenport told the Country's Jamie Mackay.
"We set up out business a number of years ago, not based on Covid-19, but based on air pollution, air quality and respiratory protection for people on the planet, because everybody has to breathe."
"Our sums back then showed that we could make a big difference to wool exports if we could get this to a minimum of 1 per cent of the population, once a year. Now that we've got a global pandemic on our hands those numbers are significantly larger."
Covid-19 meant it was now difficult to predict how many face masks would be needed globally for the next couple of years, said Davenport.
"We seriously have no idea what the multiple is now on what it was six months ago - it's just unprecedented - and we were talking about billions before. So it really is an extraordinary set of circumstances that we're facing right now."
"Obviously it's one that we're fairly pleased about from our perspective because we can help. We can provide a solution and that's why our products are going all around the world at the moment."
Lanaco has had its first product globally certified to international respiratory standards, a process started "before Covid struck" said Davenport.
"You just can't rock up and get a certificate issued to you, it takes a long time."
Davenport is launching the certified product in Parliament tomorrow night.
"New Zealand can be proud that it has a product that is certified ... is made in New Zealand and can help people in New Zealand and around the world."
Also in today's interview: Davenport commented on the state of strong crossbred wool in New Zealand.