Stoney Creek is a brand synonymous with hunting for the past 17 years.
It was through a near death experience of the original owner Martin Askes that Stoney Creek was born. His story goes like this;
“… Back in the 80’s I spent almost every spare day in the hills hunting. No one in my family hunted but I was drawn to the hills by some irresistible urge that couldn’t be shaken. It was on such a trip, mid winter in the Central North Island with my good mate and mentor Connor McKenzie, a tough ex-deer culler of twice my age, that disaster almost claimed our lives.
We left the road end before dawn under light rain, heading for a good clearing a couple of hours away. After chasing a stag that eventually eluded us, we got onto the tops and under heavy mist and fog we took a wrong turn. We’d walked all day on a single chocolate bar between us, the constant rain now turned to sleet and darkness drew in around us like an enveloping cloak. The next day was worse.
Without a clue as to where we were and without a compass we pushed and crawled through the thickest scrub imaginable. It rained all day and we were soaked to the bone wearing useless oilskin coats, heavy woollen jersey’s and freezing cotton pants. An hour before dark in a swampy creek bed we stopped for the first time that day, absolutely stuffed. Connor worked on getting a fire going while I collected more wood. The wood was saturated and when I was finished there was no fire blazing, just Connor knelt in the mud over a smoking pile. His lips and fingers were blue, he was slurring his words and unable to stand, like we’d been out on the turps all night!
It was only minutes before complete darkness and the seriousness of the situation hit me like a slegdehammer. I believed that without a fire we’d both be dead by morning. It was at that moment, that instant, that Stoney Creek was born. I made a promise to myself that I would find some decent hunting gear to keep dry and warm, somehow I’d find a way, whatever it took. If they can put people in space, there must be a way and I would never be in this situation again, NEVER, EVER!
We were by a small stream which I waded across and headed upstream searching again, one last time, for a single branch of dry wood. I found a standing dead tree and managed to push it over into the stream and floated it back to Connor. It saved our bacon. As it turned out and unknown to us at that time, the stream was named Stoney Creek.
I searched all over and found I couldn’t buy what I wanted so I would have to make it. Months later I had my first container of Polartec Windbloc fleece on the water. It was one of the most expensive fabrics in the world and we had to sell our house to pay for it. That was the easy part, it was only money, we just didn’t have any. I had no idea back then of how to make, design, cut or sew. I knew nothing about clothing manufacture, pattern making, size grading, fabric grains or stretch…”
Stoney Creek current owners Brent & Juanita McConnell continue today to make exclusive fabrics and introduce new designs.
At the core of Absolute Wilderness is Grant MacDonald, Andrew MacDonald and Nathan Fa’avae. Grant is an award winning food scientist and dedicated mountain biker, fly fishermen and orienteerer. Andrew is a well known entrepreneur with a degree in business design and a passion for food and the outdoors. Nathan is a world champion adventure racer and event organiser with over 15 years experience in the outdoor education and adventure tourism industry.
When they’re not making products they spend our time exploring New Zealand’s amazing outdoors environment. They pride them selves on developing products with strong input from the end users, holding regular tasting panels and they have some of the worlds best adventure racers on hand to give them feedback on new products.
Absolute Wilderness HQ and production facility is based in Stoke, Nelson. Being based in Nelson allows them to work directly with the local growers and producers to get top quality ingredients. This also enables them to make seasonal meals using fresh unique ingredients at different times of the year. Nelson has the advantage of offering a wide variety of outdoor locations for them to field test our meals – which is essential for fine tuning.
Wild Blue is New Zealand’s first name in spearfishing. Opened in 2001 Wild Blue was the first specialist spearfishing business in the country catering for the unique requirements of the spearo.
Since then they’ve focused on sourcing the very best equipment from all over the world, sifting through the plethora of gear available to bring you the most complete selection of specialist spearfishing equipment handpicked for New Zealand’s unique diving conditions. Whatever your budget they have the right tool for you.
Wild Blue are divers too. This means that they understand your needs as a diver and can cut the wheat from the chaff. At Wild Blue you will find only the best product available at that price point not a confusing array of similar products. Their fit is critical you’ll find enough choices to ensure you get the best match for you and your unique body shape. What you won’t find is gear made to be the cheapest or gimmicky gear designed by marketing departments. You won’t find anything they wouldn’t be happy to use them selves.
They love to talk diving and encourage you to contact us before you buy to discuss your needs so they can ensure you get the best bang for your buck and get the right gear in the right size first time.