Tristram boats – an icon of the Kiwi summer

Tristram boats – an icon of the Kiwi summer

9 July 2020

Kingsley (Hall 2004-2007) and Tristram Fink (1999-2004) now run the Hamilton business, founded by their parents Lance and Bronwyn Fink 34 years ago.

The company sells fibreglass pleasure and fishing craft which are a feature of many Kiwi summer holidays.

There are more than 2000 Tristram boats on the water in New Zealand and Australia – proudly designed and built at their Te Rapa base.

“We have a passion for detail as a family and we do practice what we preach in regard to the product we are producing,” says Kingsley, 29, who joined the business as a school leaver.

He, like his father and grandfather before him, started out as a boat builder. Back then, the boats were still being produced with hand-made plugs and moulds, but within two years, Kingsley introduced digital production techniques using CAD design, which radically changed the way things were done.

“Then that led to all of our models being cut out by 5-axis CNC robots using a big block of PET foam. By doing that we are bringing more accuracy into our business, so we are achieving accuracy down to 0.0025 of a millimetre by using robots.”

Tristram Marine has developed 24 different models over 34 years, meeting an increased demand for recreational fishing boats.

“We have always targeted the family market as that is how we as a family have enjoyed boating over the years. But there has been a big shift in the industry for fishing and everyone now enjoys this style of boating in New Zealand.”

“Whether you are a newbie or whether you are a pro-angler we can now cater for that market which has been part of the success of the business in the last ten years.”

Kingsley says their owners are typically “hard working Kiwis,” with the biggest market being Auckland and now an increasing demand in the South Island.

Tristram Marine proudly does all retailing direct from its Hamilton headquarters, instead of using a dealer network.

It is really rewarding for the entire family seeing Tristram boats being towed on the road and on the water, mainly where they holiday at Whitianga.

Tristram, 33, worked as an accountant at Deloitte in Hamilton and Auckland, before he too moved into the family business five years ago.

Tristram was born at the time the first boat was built so his parents decided to name the business Tristram Marine.

Tristram project managed a recent expansion of the business and a new service centre with state-of-the-art testing facilities.

“We work really well together, he was my best man three years ago, he’s my best mate and the best business partner I could wish for as we lead the family business,” says Kingsley.

They have a team of 36, many of whom are long-serving employees, and a loyal database of boat owners.

Photos of boat owners enjoying time on the water are proudly displayed in the lunchroom at Tristram Marine’s premises on Udy Place, Te Rapa.

“Our owners want to support a business that understands their purpose. They love knowing that our team are genuine believers in creating quality boats to create quality memories for our owners”.

While Tristram relies on suppliers for windscreens, stainless steel, outboards and trailers they are one of the only boat builders in New Zealand who manufacture all their own upholstery. Tristram Marine produces 60-70 craft in a year.

In 2017, Kingsley completed the CELF (Community and Enterprise Leadership Foundation) course through Waikato University.

“While I was there, I realised that in business and in life you have to focus on purpose. So that was a really big transformation in the business to focus heavily on purpose.”

As part of that process he introduced the slogan ‘create quality memories, create quality Tristrams’.

“And that is why we turn up to Tristram Marine each day.”

Kingsley refuses to use the word ‘staff,’ preferring to go with ‘team members and team leaders.’

It was this transformation and growth of the business that earnt Kingsley the Westpac Waikato Business Awards Emerging Leader Award late last year.

The judges said Kingsley’s understanding of strategy, client engagement and satisfaction, sales channels, marketing and manufacturing showed a level of expertise normally found in an experienced business leader.

The brothers both live in Hamilton’s northern suburbs.

Kingsley is married to Emma and they have two children, Zara, 2 and Harvey, 7 months.

Tristram is married to Tania and they have Harrison, 3, and Parker, 1. The brothers enjoy spending time at a holiday home their family have recently built in Whitianga and of course, out on the water.

A new game fishing boat by Tristram Marine is set to be released this winter, with 14 already presold.


(Source: Network Issue 99)