Look outside a farmer’s back door and chances are you’ll find a pair of boots made by Skellerup. Which ever ones they are you can bet they’ve been around a while.
Skellerup's footwear business grew out of Marathon Rubber Footwear Ltd., a publicly listed company formed in Christchurch, New Zealand by George W Skellerup in 1939. The manufacture of tennis footwear commenced a few days before the Second World War began.
Traditionally gumboots have always come up to just below the knee. However in 1958 staff at Marathon Rubber Footwear – the forerunner to Skellerup - decided to create a shorter boot and on 21st October the first pair of Red Band Gumboots rolled off the production line and became an instant hit around the country.
The building of hand-made natural rubber gumboots is a very labour and capital-intensive process requiring multiple handling of most of the components. Most Skellerup gumboot styles have in excess of 19 individual components for each half pair of boots.
'A Kiwi Legend' is a short film that was written and directed by Tess Novak and produced by Tess Novak and Millie Lynskey for the 2013 Tropfest short film festival. Their film took out the Viewer's Choice Award. The film focuses on an outbreak of a gumboot epidemic in New Zealand after a high fashion gumboot line is produced by fashion label WORLD. It's a humorous documentary style film and involves a cast of real-life Kiwi legends, such as Denise L'Estrange-Corbet, Melanie Lynskey, Sir Colin Meads and Dai Henwood.