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FOUNDER

The parent Company of Untouched World, Snowy Peak Limited, takes its name from the sheep farming property in Canterbury, in the South Island of New Zealand, where our Founder Peri Drysdale spent her childhood. Both sides of Peri’s family have a long tradition of sheep farming and the family was also responsible for the first documentation of NZ native plants and trees, a comprehensive resource that is still in use today.

It all began when the ancestors of the brand founder, Peri Drysdale, sailed from Britain on one of the First Four ships to bring European settlers to Canterbury, New Zealand in 1850. From those early colonial beginnings a deep involvement with sheep farming for the family began In New Zealand. From the age of four, Peri helped in the woolshed on the picturesque high country sheep farming property which incorporated the Snowy Peak high country block, after which the company is named, fed orphaned lambs and helped her father feeding hay to sheep before going to school on the country school bus.

From the outset Snowy Peak Limited has led the way in innovating and adding value to the region’s fine natural flora and fauna. Starting with 10 outworkers, Peri founded Snowy Peak Ltd in 1981, designing and producing high quality innovative luxury fibre, blend knitwear. Within four years she had five hundred outworkers and went on to export to Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia. After pioneering the development of possum fibre and wool in 1992, knitwear brand Merinomink™ (fine merino and possum) was launched in 1996 and 1998 saw the development of New Zealand lifestyle fashion brand Untouched World™.

As Peri travelled the world exporting she became deeply concerned about the trajectory the planet and its people, was on, and its long term sustainabililty. How could the company make a contribution to change? How might “every one person, every one company, make a difference?” After an intense period of research, in 2000 the Untouched World Charitable Trust was established, funded by profits from sales of Untouched World brand clothing, products and services. UWCT offers ground- breaking programmes for 16-18yr olds, focused on leadership for a sustainable future. At a critical turning point in their young lives these programmes clearly impact the decisions they make for further education and employment.

UWCT is a natural fit for Snowy Peak Ltd which deeply considers all its environmental, social and cultural impacts. Over more than a decade, UWCT programmes across New Zealand have delivered more than 1000 leadership graduates and positively impacted Kiwi conservation, biodiversity and water issues from Blumine Island (Marlborough Sounds), Mt Tongariro, Canterbury to Central Otago. With a core partnership agreement with the Department of Conservation, UWCT works with a host of partners from both the public and private sectors within NZ. A particular field highlight came in 2009 with the UWCT/DOC Blumine Island project achieving predator free status after eight years of student work and in July 2013 the first Kiwi Chick was born on Blumine Island from the original six released there.

Recognition has also come internationally where Untouched World™ and UWCT continue to assist UNESCO in its 2004-14 Education for Sustainable Development Strategy. Consequently Untouched World ™ is the only fashion company in the world to carry on its garments the United Nations certification (UN DESD logo) for its work both within the company and the UWCT.

Under Peri’s leadership Untouched World™ has won a host of awards in design, business excellence, exporting, retail, sustainability and ethical governance. In 1999 Former US President Bill Clinton endorsed his Untouched World™ APEC leaders garment as “the smartest garment he’d been given in seven years of being President.” This led to an ongoing association with the former President championing product and to a UWCT partnership commitment on water issues with the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, which this year celebrated a second water pilot programme based in post-quake Christchurch. The brand has attracted many significant allies over the years ranging from accolades from LA fashionista Cameron Silver to in 2010 winning the coveted European IF design award to Prince Harry appearing on the front cover of ‘In Style’ Magazine in 2012 wearing Untouched World™.

Peri personally has received very wide recognition for her work ranging from being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to New Zealand (Manufacturing and Export) in 1992 to North and South Magazine's New Zealander of the Year for 2006 and in April 2007 Peri was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Commerce from Lincoln University. Supreme Award winner New Zealander of Year awards 2008. In many ways for our remarkable Founder however, the journey is still very much in progress and ‘there is so much more to do!”

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