Our Fibreglass History

Modern vanity unit with innovative 'marble' fibreglass top (newspaper article from 1979)
Southland Times newspaper article from 1979

FI Innovations’ history has its beginnings in fibrous plaster technology … the original firm, T D McIntosh and Sons were Invercargill’s specialists in ornate plaster ceilings. Thomas McIntosh, Gareth’s great-grandfather, passed his skills and knowledge on to his son, Bill McIntosh.

Although fibreglass was invented in 1938 and became commonplace during WWII, (primarily for its insulation properties), it took a little longer to reach New Zealand shores.

At that stage Bill McIntosh thought fibreglass might be worth checking out, with a view to creating moulds for his plaster products.


Bill McIntosh ordered Southland’s first pottle of fibreglass.  It duly arrived, but with no instructions … Bill took the lid off and placed the resin pottle in the middle of a large room. He instructed the apprentice to run past and fling the hardener in (just in case it exploded). History tells us that it didn’t explode. After more trial and error, they refined their methods.

Bill McIntosh was quick to see the benefits of this new substance. Within a few years, T D McIntosh and Sons were no longer doing plaster ceilings. By the 1960’s, plaster had all but been forgotten. Much later, the business passed to Bill’s son, Dave McIntosh and traded under the name Southland Fibreglass. They began doing non-slip resin flooring, alongside the general fibreglass work. 

In the 1990’s Gareth Dykes learned the fibreglass trade at his grandfather’s factory … and along the way picked up Bill’s pioneering spirit. So when he returned to Southland in 2002 with his wife Melissa, after an extended overseas adventure, they accepted the opportunity to take over the old family firm – adding 4th generation innovation to this long-established Invercargill business.