Aspiring Safety Products is a family manufacturing business founded originally by Alice Shanks and Lindsay Main. The business was established in 1980 to make climbing harnesses, which had been expensive and cumbersome at the time. The business expanded during the 1980s to manufacture outdoor equipment for climbing, tramping, and caving, and was later registered as a company under the name Aspiring Safety Products Ltd. During the 90’s the company evolved to make harnesses in the industrial world as well as a large number of custom harnesses for the adventure tourism sector.
In 2015 after 35 successful years Christchurch local Shane Rhodes purchased the business from Lindsay and Alice after being impressed by the business and brand they had built over the years. With a strong established brand in place and a loyal significant customer base from all parts of the world the business is well placed for the next 35 years. With a young family of three, a passion for the outdoor industry and a desire to take on the world with the Aspiring brand it’s fair to say his motivation for the business to succeed is extremely high.
Now registered as Aspiring Safety Limited the business is fast expanding not only in New Zealand but getting great traction in other countries. The New Zealand made brand and reputation for quality and innovation has helped the business grow continually striving for the best products on the market has been well accepted. Becoming ISO9001 certified in early 2018 is of great pride to our operation and really backs up our quality systems and policies.
Lindsay Main has been climbing since the 1970s, and has accomplished many alpine climbs, including five ascents of Mt Cook, several new routes in the Southern Alps, and a number of climbs overseas. These experiences were associated with a strong interest in the technical aspects of climbing, which gave him the background for writing the NZ Mountain Safety Council’s Mountain craft Manual in 1980, followed by a second edition in 1987. There was also an involvement in climbing instruction, both amateur and professional, including two summer seasons working with the NZ Antarctic Programme’s snow survival school in the early 1980s.
In the mid 1980s he became involved in caving, and has explored many of New Zealand’s deepest caves, in particular organising and leading 20 ten-day expeditions to New Zealand’s biggest cave, Bulmer Cavern.
Alongside these recreational activities Lindsay took a professional interest in height-safety, working on scaffolding at one stage and as a steeplejack, as well as experimenting with rope access techniques in the late 70s, before rope access concepts were established.
Lindsay has also been closely involved in rock climbing for over 30 years, particularly in the Christchurch area, He published a guide to climbing on the Port Hills in 1998, co-edited South Island Rock in 2004, and was a member of the Christchurch Alpine and Cliff Rescue Team for 30 years. He has made over 300 first ascents of rock climbs in the Christchurch area.
Starting from a single product over 30 years ago, Aspiring Safety Products supplies a broad range of products for outdoor activities, including climbing, caving, tramping, and outdoor education, as well as for professional use in work at height and rescue. Fabric and webbing products are manufactured in our factory in Christchurch, while rope and hardware are imported from the USA and Europe.
Since establishment in the early 1980s we have manufactured hundreds of thousands of harnesses, and life-safety products, such as webbing slings. Our outdoor education harnesses are the industry standard in New Zealand, and are also used in Australia.
We have worked closely with the Adventure Tourism industry for many years, and now produce a number of specialised items for this industry.
We have a staff of eight people, and are located in Waltham Christchurch; nice and close to the hills for climbing and the port for our shipments! We have cutting areas for both fabric and webbing, which is cut on a customised treadle-operated hot cutters for a clean cut.
Our sewing room is equipped with seven heavy-duty sewing machines, as well as six machines for more specialised work, including three Juki computer-controlled pattern-stitchers, and three specialist bar-tack machines. All our structural stitch patterns are proprietary and have been developed and refined here over the years. Regular testing helps us ensure we use the best stitch pattern for each job.
We specialise in designing and manufacturing webbing products, and stock a wide range of webbings, buckles, and other and components. Buckles and webbings are sourced from Australia, UK, Italy, France, and the USA, as well as being made to our own requirements on our own die’s where we can’t find the right one for the job we get it made.
Apart from our own manufacturing capability, we also rely on the expertise of a number of overseas companies who are leaders in the outdoor and height-safety industries. These include:
- Pigeon Mountain Industries (PMI), USA – static ropes, Dynamic Ropes;
- International Safety Components (ISC), UK – buckles, rope grabs;
- Peguet , France – Maillons Rapides (screw-links);
- Seattle Manufacturing Corporation (SMC), USA – pulleys;
- Climbing Technology, Italy – karabiners, helmets, ascenders, descenders, bolting, bags, buckles;
- Colorado Mountain Industries (CMI), USA – pulleys.
We have the expertise to advise on any height safety problem, and can recommend a training organisation if required. We attend meetings of the Standards Australia SF15 committee, which reviews New Zealand height safety standards. This helps us keep up to date with new developments.
We have testing facilities for harness testing, with a hydraulic jack monitored by a Dillon 50 kN dynamometer. We also call upon independent test laboratories for much of our product testing and development.
We have developed a number of customised products over the years, put it this way if you are in New Zealand and you are hanging in it or jumping of it we no doubt had something to do with it!
Website Photograph Credits
Jonathan Carr, Alice Shanks, Lindsay Main, Fred Haering, Steve Weidmann, Andrew Main, Tom Beauchamp, Francis Main, Andre Goldsmith, Neil Silverwood.