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Medifab, a New Zealand leader in providing specialised equipment for people with disabilities and medical difficulties, has won an international award for its new life-enhancing technology.

Medifab was recognised for its world-leading disability product technology development at the biennial Australian Better Technology Awards event on the Gold Coast. 

The Better Technology Award recognises products designed to be used by people with a disability which incorporate the principles of good design. Medifab’s axial technology took second prize in the commercial category. 

The Rolleston-based cutting edge company manufactures wheelchair seating and children’s mobility equipment, and have developed the Axial technology to enable optimum positioning for clinically complex clients. This fulfils a need where traditional seating support systems are challenged to provide positioning required. 

Medifab also provides other equipment such as walking and standing aids, strollers, car seats and bathroom accessories to help people with physical disabilities. Globally, an estimated 18 million wheelchair users have high-end needs, Medifab business development manager Bruce Mascull says.

“It’s important for New Zealand companies to recognise the negative perceptions around the Kiwi number-8-wire mentality. You can’t knock something up in your shed and attempt to sell it to a health market in Europe; it just won’t fly. 

“We’ve had to tune our attitude and put significant time and energy into building an export ‘vehicle’ by strengthening relationships and demonstrating that we’re a Kiwi company with quality engineering and innovation. We are determined to improve and benefit the lives of people in need.

“We develop all our products and make most of them in New Zealand, but it’s a global market and as volumes increase we’d be foolish to ignore overseas resources. It can be more efficient to have some of our componentry produced offshore. We believe it’s better to have a healthy company based in New Zealand, than to stifle our business by turning down global opportunities. 

“We’re working on creating the right culture and structure to drive our exports. We plan to expand into America and other parts of Europe, and have been carefully studying those markets. The United States is challenging but with co-funding and support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) we can enter that market having worked through the required research.  NZTE has also introduced us to industry veterans who have helped us shape our strategy. We lap up everything NZTE can throw at us.

“Half our turnover is from exports to Australia, the UK, UAE and Europe. We expect the balance to tip more towards export growth as the larger overseas markets come on stream. Our experience is that the more overseas challenges we face, the more innovation we are able to offer back to New Zealand,” Mascull says.

Over the last 25 years the company has developed more than 130 products to help people with needs to become leaders in its field.

Medifab has received recognition as a hugely successful Complex Rehab Technology company set to go places with massive product potential and is unsurpassed for its progressive technologies in shaping better lives for wheelchair-bound people, their families, caregivers and nursing staff.  Medifab will take part in the world’s biggest rehabilitation trade fair in Dusseldorf, Germany, next month.

Photo: Medifab’s Reuben Miller (right) shows Bruce Mascull Medifab’s new axial technology that is bringing huge comfort levels to wheelchair users globally.  

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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