The History of Fi Innovations
Fi Innovations traces its beginnings back to fibrous plaster ceilings. “T D McIntosh & Sons” were specialists in ornate plaster ceilings, a trade which son Bill McIntosh learned from his father.
Fibreglass was only invented in 1938 just before WW2. Its manufacture became commonplace during the next few years, primarily for its insulation properties.
It took a little longer to reach New Zealand shores. When it did arrive, Bill McIntosh thought it might be worth checking out, with a view to creating moulds for his plaster parts.
Bill duly ordered Southland’s first pottle of fibreglass. It arrived without any instructions … he took the lid off, sat it in the middle of a large room and instructed the apprentice to run past and fling the hardener in (just in case it exploded).
Ironically the new product was to prove very durable underfoot, so within a few years T D McIntosh & Sons were no longer doing plaster ceilings. By the 1970s, plaster had been all but forgotten. The business was now trading under the name “Southland Fibreglass” and industrial flooring made up a large part of their work.
Grandson, Dave McIntosh, managed the business in Otepuni Ave through the 1980 and 1990 decades.
In the 1990s, great-grandson Gareth Dykes learned the fibreglass trade at the Southland Fibreglass factory – and along the way picked up grandfather Bill’s pioneering spirit.
After an extensive OE, working in fibreglass repairs and eventually managing a charter yacht fleet in the Mediterranean, Gareth returned to Southland with his wife Melissa. In 2004, they set up “Cosmic Laminations” to manufacture fibreglass decks for Stabicraft boats. However, it wasn’t long before the couple had taken over the old family firm – adding fourth generation innovation to the established Invercargill-based enterprise.
They shifted to a larger factory in Otepuni Ave and changed the name to “Fibreglass Innovations and Marine”.
By 2013, the range and complexity of resin coating and flooring products had become distinctly different from fibreglass and composite materials. It was decided to create two separate divisions – “Fi Innovations Flooring” and “Fi Innovations Fibreglass”.