The history of the fireplace
In 1980 Christina Cairns and her then husband Peter Rust merged their two Auckland businesses, The Prospector and The Fireplace, creating what quickly became a renowned destination for the restoration of antique furniture and fireplaces in the city. With customers often seeking unique solutions for their fireplace renovations and frustrated by the lack of local supply options, Christina and Peter shifted their focus to sourcing offshore.
What followed laid the foundations for The Fireplace business today, supplying best-in-class global fireplace technologies, tailored and compliant for the New Zealand market, through a nationwide network of experienced retailers, installers and service agents.
Long-standing brand agency partnerships were established in the early years. European-made tiles and fire tools were imported from UK-based Stovax. Real Flame gas fires were introduced from Australia. Jetmaster, with its trail-blazing radiant and convection wood fire range, was sourced from South Africa. The business also expanded nationally with outlets opened in Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch.
Sadly, when Peter passed away suddenly in 1992 it was with inimitable drive and determination that Christina then navigated a period of change and re-organisation. This tenacity coupled with her love for fashion and design are values woven deeply into the DNA of The Fireplace. As a pioneer for the industry she viewed the “fireplace” more a piece of beautiful, designer furniture... not simply the functional home-heating appliance of old.
By 2000 Christina had remarried and her husband Barry Cairns had joined The Fireplace team. After relocating into a new purpose-built, single-site premise in Mount Eden, the distribution operation expanded again. First the HeatnGlo brand from the US and later Stovax/Gazco fires from the UK were added to the portfolio. European style appliances in particular had become popular with architects designing for their discerning home-owner clients.
The business also prevailed in the face of significant challenges, including the introduction of national wood fire performance standards, a global financial crisis and increased competition that emerged over time. By adding value to the design process, supporting a nationwide dealer network and maintaining a commitment to marketing, particularly digital marketing, The Fireplace established itself as a genuine industry leader.
Finally in 2017, after almost 40 years trading, Christina and Barry retired, selling to new owners Geoff Dunn and Dave Thompson. Today the business remains proudly NZ-owned and operated, with the country’s largest specialist fireplace showroom, nationwide distribution channels, a leading digital marketing footprint and a highly regarded team of fireplace consultants and technicians. Truly a story to behold!