New Zealand presents a mix of landscapes and unique cultures. There are
just 4.6 million New Zealanders, scattered across 268.000 km2: bigger than the UK with one-fourteenth the population. Filling in the gaps are the sublime forests, mountains, lakes, beaches and fiords. New Zealand's 14 national parks showcase more than 30.000 km2 of diverse, natural scenery ready to explore by foot, boat, car or air. We skip Middle-earth and fly directly to Auckland, where we meet Mike Edwards, the General Manager of Sika New Zealand.

 

1. What are your personal secrets for managing a team?

Perhapsmy only secret is to try not to have secrets with my team.  It is important that our goals are agreed to, openly communicated and frequently referred to. 

I believe that people will rise to a challenge and that they truly want our business to prosper.  We have a strong team in NZ and I am very proud of how hard they work to exceed our customers’ expectations.  Every day I see
examples of our team going the extra mile to help our customers succeed.

 

2. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of working in NZ?

That all my Sika friends from around the world would like to visit us.  Whenever
I’m at a corporate meeting, many people express a desire to come to NZ.  The distance, of course, is an issue.  Apart from our Australian cousins, we’re at
least 10 hours flying time from our next nearest neighbor.

 

3. In 2015 NZ was ranked by the World Bank as the easiest
place in the world to start a business and the world’s second easiest country to do business in generally. In addition in 2014 the country came in third in Forbes’ ‘Best Country for Business’ report, just behind Denmark and Hong Kong. What is NZ’s  secret?

In general these surveys consider how government regulations
enhance or constrain business activity.  NZ is a very fair place to do business, with strong business regulations.  Property rights are protected, services such
as electricity and water are secure, contracts are enforced, etc.

We have very low levels of corruption in NZ.  In Sika we commit worldwide to our Code of Conduct, and one of our main themes was how lucky we are to operate in a country with little corruption and therefore how extra vigilant we need to be against bribery or corruption.

 

4. And the construction market? Where exactly does NZ profit from Sika?

Sika NZ is a very mature company operating in a very mature market.  We have been in NZ for over 50 years and are the number one or number two
suppliers in most of our markets.  We are a very well known, well
trusted brand, with a reputation for quality products and excellent service.

NZ profits from our years of knowledge in this market, the expertise of our technical sales team, the wide product range we offer and the global expertise we can draw on from our corporate support teams and our more than 95 sister companies.

 

5. Christchurch tragically had to go through various vast earthquakes in the last years. How Sika supports the rebuild which is highly ranked on estate agenda?

The Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 devastated the Central Business District of Christchurch. Some 5 years later there are still vast areas of the CBD that are desolate. 

Our team in Christchurch has done an incredible job supporting the Christchurch rebuild, while they and their families were still living through the earthquakes and
the more than ten thousand aftershocks that followed.

Shortly after the main earthquakes our technical sales team was using its expertise in refurbishment to support the repair of earthquake damaged buildings. Gradually the rebuild has shifted from repair of damaged buildings to the construction of new buildings, and our focus has moved from refurbishment to basement-to-roof waterproofing, with our teams in Waterproofing, Sealing and Bonding and Roofing.

 

6. What are the immediate goals for Sika NZ?

Of course we have our financial goals, that’s a given, but we also have many goals focused on continuous improvement of our business processes.  In 2017 we will have a strong focus on training right across the business, from up skilling the technical knowledge of our Customer Service team to rolling out the Management Training Classic program to our middle Managers.

 

7. The Australian writer Charles Rawlings-Way every trip to NZ wrote: The rolling hills and hedgerows collude with the irreverent, easygoing locals to disarm, distract and delight. Māori culture is potent, the surf is world class, and the craft beer is awesome. He states, the country presents the best of old and new worlds with social and environmental sensibility: a template for a new world order, perhaps? Does this come close to what NZ is about?

I would like to think we can live up to such an evocative description.

Certainly the landscape is very varied. From my home in Auckland I could be, in an hour, surfing at a rugged west coast beach, lying on a lovely white sand beach on the east coast, enjoying a glass of award winning chardonnay at a local vineyard, or tramping along native forest trails. 

“Kiwis” work hard, but also treasure their personal time, and we can pride ourselves on being good hosts to our many visitors.

 

 8. What is it that you personally enjoy the most about life in NZ?

While we have many things to enjoy in NZ, in terms of our natural environment, our stable political situation, our relative prosperity, etc., it is people that enrich
our lives.  For me NZ means family, friends and the great team of people at Sika NZ.

 

9. What are your aspirations for your country looking forward?

We have so many things to be thankful for.  In particular, NZ is well known and admired for its natural beauty, and future governments will be judged
by how well they balance growth and development with the protection of these unique natural assets. Sustainability should be a key focus for all New
Zealanders.

Find out more details about Sika New Zealand