FROM THE EARLY BEGINNINGS
IT'S IN THE BLOOD
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 on to 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 jerseys 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 sledgehammer. 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, and we 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.