History of Swanndri | Swanndri from New Zealand to the UK

Swanndri was born in 1923 when, two days before Christmas, William Broome, of Taranaki, New Zealand, patented the first ‘Swanni’, a short sleeve woollen bush shirt.

Designed to tackle the notoriously unpredictable New Zealand weather, Broome’s bush shirt was made from wool treated with his ‘secret potion’, a special treatment that is rumoured to have come over with him from the British Isles from where he emigrated aged 21.

And because of this ‘special treatment’, his first bush shirt was made in just one size as the shirts would shrink unevenly during the process. This simple design was used across New Zealand until tailor John McKendrick saw this simple bush shirt’s potential and added a hood and laced opening at the front.

Made for the outdoors

McKendrick made these versatile outdoor garments for farmers, hunters, trackers and many others who worked in the unforgiving New Zealand elements, under licence from the Broome family. In 1964, McKendrick bought the rights to the Swanndri trademark and set forth on creating a New Zealand classic, and expanding the range to include a collection of exceptional outdoor clothing.

Production of Swanndri clothing moved out of New Zealand, but still used the famous sheep from the islands to produce its outstanding water-resistant clothing. Although, its socks and leather belts are still made in New Zealand.

In 2018, Swanndri moved some of its production back to New Zealand and is now working on its latest ‘Made In NZ’ collection.

Nearly 100 years on from its inception, Swanndri is still producing fine woollen outdoor clothing from the finest wool collected from sheep around New Zealand.

Style and substance

Nowadays, Swanndri isn’t just the first choice for farmers, shepherds and other outdoor workers. The ‘Swanni’ has been embraced by style gurus in the city, surfers, trekkers and others who love the natural materials, the weather protection and, of course, the history behind Swanndri, an Antipodean classic.

Much of the Swanndri range, including bush shirts, jackets, oildskin vests and jackets, makes the perfect addition to your shooting and hunting wardrobe, and is especially practical clothing for those looking to add to their layering options when stalking.

View our Swanndri range here