WORDS BY JOHN EICHELSHEIM / NZ Marine News
Family and Business
Bronwyn Fink has spent most of her adult life in the marine industry.
She and husband Lance founded Tristram Marine, one of New Zealand’s most successful production fibreglass trailer boat builders . And while the pair are now less involved in Tristram Marine’s day-to-day running, they continue to provide their sons, Tristram and Kingsley, who now run the company, with an invaluable sounding board.
Bronwyn comes from a boating family.
“My family loved fishing and boating; we were always on, in or around the water,” she remembers.
She met Lance through fishing friends who were building a boat. Lance was working for his father, a boat builder, at the time.
The two young people hit it off and Bronwyn was pretty soon fully involved in Lance’s life . Romance blossomed, they married and their first son, Tristram, was born five years later.
With Tristram just 11 months old, Lance and Bronwyn decided to go out on their own. Getting a new business off the ground takes hard work, which Lance never shirked, often working seven days a week. Busy with a new family, Bronwyn initially restricted her involvement in the fledgling business to keeping the books.
“Tris and I would visit Lance at the factory on weekends,” laughs Bronwyn.
But by the time Kingsley was born four years later, Bronwyn was well and truly entrenched in every aspect of Tristram Marine.
“Kingsley was brought up at work” laughs Bronwyn. He would accompany his mother and brother Tris to the Hamilton factory every day, where the boys would make cars and boats out of packing boxes.
“The business and our family grew up together,” says Bronwyn, who has always been a great foil to her husband’s ambition: “Lance is a real go-getter, incredibly passionate, while I took care of the paperwork side of the business, as well as helping Lance out wherever possible.”
Theirs has been a highly successful partnership . The business grew steadily, with the whole family playing its part – at countless boat shows, at the factory and at home. She believes their shared experiences brought them closer together as a family.
Bronwyn credits much of Tristram Marine’s success to the whole family’s dedication and a strong determination to build their brand.
“We treat every boat we build as if we own it – as if we’d built it for ourselves,” explains Bronwyn. Tristram Marine customers become part of the extended family.
“A big part of my role was caring for clients, our customers, ensuring they were happy. Lance and I always tried to ensure we never sold them a boat that wasn’t right for them. Honesty is a big part of our business and always has been,” says Bronwyn.
Bronwyn and Lance have now taken a well-deserved step back from the business, which is now run by their sons Tristram and Kingsley. Tristram studied to earn a Chartered Accountant’s qualification working for Deloitte for eight years before applying his skills to a business development and marketing role at Tristram.
Tristram Marine’s General Manager, Kingsley, who’s “a chip off the old block [Lance],” ably looks after boat sales and boat development while also running the impressive modern showroom as General Manager.
Bronwyn is extremely proud the boys have chosen to take over the family business, carrying Tristram Marine forward into the future. After more than 33 years at the sharp end, she and Lance now spend considerable time in Whitianga at their new holiday home, but are always available to share their wisdom and experience with Tristram and Kingsley as required.
The family remains close and business is thriving.