The announcement follows Air New Zealand's recent commitment to be the new naming rights sponsor for New Zealand Fashion Week and help promote local fashion to the world.

"Air New Zealand selected Zambesi for their reputation of producing quality designs of timeless appeal and the enthusiasm Elisabeth and Neville Findlay have for working with Air New Zealand. We look forward to working closely together to create an outstanding uniform for our staff to showcase around the world," said Air New Zealand Group General Manger Airlines, Rob Fyfe.

"These new uniforms will be worn by more than 3,000 staff, replacing those designed more than a decade ago in 1992 and refreshed in 1996."

Zambesi was chosen after the airline instigated discussions with several New Zealand designers in the first quarter of this year. Headed by founders Elisabeth and Neville Findlay, the Zambesi team will spend the coming months creating a uniform with input from Air New Zealand staff through an extensive consultation programme.

"Zambesi feels honoured to be a part of the ongoing success of the iconic Air New Zealand brand," said Elisabeth Findlay.

"We feel passionately about New Zealand, and look forward to developing a new design concept that we all, as New Zealanders can be proud of. It is our intention that the new Air New Zealand uniform will convey our cultural uniqueness, our world class design, and our warmth and integrity as people."

"The Air New Zealand uniform is worn with pride by our staff and its redesign by Zambesi is a critical component of the improvements we are making to our business," said Mr Fyfe.

"We've used New Zealand designers since the 1970s including Vinka Lucas, Thornton Hall and most recently Barbara Lee. It is important that we continue to showcase New Zealand designers and their talents to the 10 million passengers who travel with us every year and millions more who will see these uniforms in airports and Air New Zealand offices around the world.

"Designing and introducing a new uniform for more than 3,000 staff is a significant investment from the company both in terms of resource and time.

"We are committed to delivering an exciting new uniform that staff will be happy and proud to wear. The staff consultation process plays an incredibly important part of the design process and Zambesi and our project team will be meeting with a large number of our staff to discuss their needs.

"There are a number of factors to take into account for our employees, especially given that these uniforms will be worn by staff all over the world, in a wide variety of climatic conditions and working environments," said Mr Fyfe.

Following the consultation and design process, more than a year is needed to manufacture the new range of fabrics required, measure up staff, manufacture the uniforms and then finally introduce the uniform across the company, with the process to be completed in early 2006.

"Together with our new naming rights sponsorship of Air New Zealand Fashion Week, this partnership with Zambesi demonstrates our very strong support of New Zealand fashion. Both activities will enable us to promote this aspect of contemporary New Zealand culture to the world as a unique and interesting tourism destination," said Mr Fyfe.

Designers of the past:

  • 1961 TEAL introduces a classic Christian Dior two piece which continued to be used when the airline was renamed Air New Zealand in 1965
  • 1973 New Zealand based designer Vinka Lucas creates a blue-green uniform with a touch of gold
  • 1976 Italian based fashion house Nina Ricci creates a new uniform for Air New Zealand international crew
  • 1987 Isobel Harris of Thornton Hall creates a combined domestic and international crew uniform
  • 1992 Christchurch designer Barbara Lee creates a new look, which is refreshed in 1996 with the introduction of Air New Zealand's Pacific Wave livery

About Zambesi:

Zambesi is recognised as New Zealand's premier clothing design house.

Since its inception in 1979, Zambesi has steered a course on the very edge of fashion sensibility. Originality, integrity and passion have given the label an iconic status internationally.

Zambesi is the inspiration of Designer Elisabeth Findlay, who with partner Neville, has led the company through 25 years of exciting expansion to its current position at the forefront of the New Zealand Fashion Industry.

The Zambesi flagship stores in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne, are respected by international commentators for their originality and their "beyond fashion" credibility.

For the faithful, the label can now be found in boutiques and department stores from Australasia to the Northern Hemisphere.

NOTE: The content of all Air New Zealand media releases are accurate at the time of issue, as stated at the top of each release. For updates on any changes, please contact Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Aegean Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines and TAM have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.

For more information about Air New Zealand visit www.airnewzealand.com and for more information about Star Alliance visit www.staralliance.com.