Dilana Rugs, with its high-quality, niche product, is the latest development in New Zealand carpet making. Rug makers work closely with artists, producing limited-edition or one-off pieces of art that can be walked on. Local carpet manufacturing was established by the 1930s, and expanded rapidly after the Second World War. Large companies such as Bremworth and the Carpet Manufacturing Company (part of the Feltex group) were set up in the late 1940s and 1950s. The removal of tariff barriers and restrictions on the importing of synthetic carpet began in the 1980s, first as a result of closer economic relations with Australia, and then as part of the deregulation of the New Zealand economy. Although the carpet industry was initially unaffected (the exchange rate acted as tariff barrier), it shrank in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2005 a third of New Zealand carpet was exported, most of it going to Australia, followed by the US, Hong Kong, Japan and China.
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Photograph by Garry Senior
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