by hand and known by heart.
Steve Minson. Kovacs metalworker since 1994.
Since 1959 we’ve been thinking about tomorrow.
Stephen Kovacs opened the Christchurch furniture business back during the days of the wireless and the six o’clock swill. He brought to the new venture a passion for European design and belief in the talents of local furniture craftsman.
Along with his wife Maria, Stephen set up the Mowbray Street factory in Sydenham in 1963. It was first known as Atlas, then later as Vertex Continental Furniture. In 1983 the name change to Kovacs would occur, the family name providing the right focus for the pride and diligence within the craft.
Brother and sister Johnny and Hildy Kovacs grew up in the family business, the siblings witnessing first hand the ever-changing design trends and fashion upheavals within the furniture and design industries.
The next generation is already now at home here. With each new era the family business has passed down the skill within traditional European artisanship along with an unwavering commitment to innovation.
The skill and the passion.
Many of our team have been making furniture at Kovacs for decades now.
We’re proud to have earned their loyalty and rewarded by the experience and expertise they bring to every piece made right here.
Hildy Kovacs – Designer
Back then: Born into the family business (along with brother, Johnny), gaining incredible experience and exposure to the ever-changing nature of furniture design and construction.
Right now: Just trying to do the best job possible, no matter the task at hand. While wearing many hats on different days, her work primarily focuses on designing exceptional built-to-last furniture.
Between back then and right now: She believes products are now far more wide-ranging and suitable for different walks of life. While technology has advanced some aspects, the integrity and honesty of the work remains the same.
Outside of work: Enjoys time with friends and family (but also appreciates her own space and company).
Best place to escape: The tranquil coastal town of Kaikoura or the beautiful lakeside village of Tekapo.
Quote to live by: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Joke to repeat at parties: “I question my sanity a lot of times… every now and then it replies.”
Quick-fire favourites: Animal: dog. Car: landcruiser. Book: War and Peace.
Johnny Kovacs – Director
History here: Born and bred. Began working after school and during holidays from a young age – which was vital experience for building a good work ethic and learning hands-on skills (and earning pocket money).
Daily employment: Johnny’s always busy with a wide range of collaborative and solo work, which includes manufacturing, marketing, and financial matters, as well as liaising with staff and our important external supplier and retailer networks.
Lifelong commitment: There is a strong sense of connection and protection associated with working within the family business, and Johnny always appreciates the variety of work, the great work-life balance, and the responsibility of guiding the company on its journey.
Passions: Reading, music, gardening, water sports, travelling (especially around Banks Peninsula) and cooking for family and friends.
Favourites: Book: Red Notice by Bill Browder. Car: Ford Mustang Shelby. Animal: Perhaps not surprisingly given the vehicle choice – horse.
A quote: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway.
Personal style / favourite Kovacs piece: Natural, relaxed contemporary style, which is echoed in the Elton sofa.
Samm Hurd – Northern Region Sales Manager
Working at Kovacs: 10+ years
Key responsibilities: Managing the Auckland trade showroom / sales and consultancy across the North Island region.
Delivers to her work: An unrelentingly positive attitude and a nurturing mindset, ensuring our customers are always served with focus, dedication, and insightful expertise.
Always enjoys: Meeting new people, making (and sustaining) connections.
Inside space: Appreciates the chance to share New Zealand made furniture, raising awareness around sustainable purchasing, and helping Kiwis create their own distinctive personal havens.
Outside space: Enjoys getting out into the wilds of New Zealand and, along with dance, yoga, and painting, makes the most of her time away from work.
Favourite artists: Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Arvo Pärt,
Favourite Kovacs piece: There’s two – the Hendrix and the Loft.
Samm Hurd – Northern Region Sales Manager
Arrived here: In 2021.
Drawn here by: Beautiful furniture and great people.
Daily responsibilities: Creating quotes and processing orders for a large database of clients in the South Island, as well as looking after the showroom.
Work hack: Having structure to your tasks and to your day allows everything else to fall into place.
Best part of the job: Enjoys the team atmosphere and the way everyone has each other’s back. Also appreciates getting to see Hildy’s latest, greatest furniture design creations up close as each is unveiled.
Activities outside of work: Loves getting out in the garden with home landscaping tasks, spending time with family, friends, and puppies, and discovering more about design and architecture.
Personal style: Eclectic with an appreciation for raw, natural materials and fabrics.
Favourite Kovacs piece: Currently coveting the Bronx.
Favourite animal: Her beautiful English bulldog.
Paul Dryden – General Manager
Working at Kovacs: Since March 2023.
Motivation to take the job: Being part of a New Zealand design and manufacturing business making high quality products that last through generations was certainly a drawcard. As was the opportunity to work alongside a passionate, hardworking, and supportive team.
Key responsibilities: Responsible for the management of manufacturing, sales, and finances. With his industry experience and expert guidance Paul ensures Hildy and Johnny can concentrate on their passions and that together they can take Kovacs to the next level.
Outdoor activity: Loves to be by the water and especially enjoys the peace and tranquillity of fishing.
Indoor activity: Enjoys reading a wide range of books, with some favourites being Christchurch author Paul Cleave and the American writer David Baldacci. Has also has recently taken up Bridge.
Quote that resonates: ‘Fail fast and fail often’ – “I’m not content with the status quo, sometimes learning from your mistakes is the best way to achieve personal growth”.
Favourite Kovacs designs: Detroit and the Elton.
Sam Wilks – Sales Coordinator
Working at Kovacs: 10+ years
Attracted to the work: For a wide variety of reasons, but primarily due to the creativity and inspiration inherent in furniture design.
Key responsibilities: Sam is always busy working between sales support, pitching in on the showroom floor, and rolling up the sleeves with a wide range of everyday tasks.
Loves the love: Appreciates that the local market has grown to love NZ-made furniture and knows how important it is that Kovacs is made right here.
Keeping things simple: Loves time spent with family and friends, sharing stories and laughter.
Favourite Kovacs piece: She owns an “O.G 90s classic, the Simplicity – it’s the best chair!”
Joanne Samson – Accounts Administrator
Started here: Ten years ago, attracted by the solidity and reputation of the family-run business and its people.
Key responsibilities: Managing accounts and administration work, diligently supervising logistics so our shipping gets from A to B without any OMGs.
Inside of work: She’s busy helping us meet the challenges of a rapidly changing environment, ensuring we can navigate the next ‘new normal’ with confidence.
Outside of work: She’s equally busy enjoying motorbike rides with her husband, relaxing gardening time, and every second she gets to spend with her beloved pug, Winston.
Best part of the job: “Definitely the people I work with.”
Best things in life: Travelling anywhere in New Zealand, either on the bike or, if she could choose, an Audi Quattro convertible (“Zoooooom!”)
Favourite Kovacs piece: The Morgan
Trish Rice – Operations and Production
Worked here for: Over five years now.
Attracted to the work: “It was a family business with a tight-knit team, great furniture, and having a good coffee shop across the road is nice too.”
Her key responsibilities: Trish is always busy doing everything and anything, be it work in operations and production, or sales support and customer service,
Enjoys: Tramping, mountain biking, ocean paddling, and reading.
Personal style: Contemporary nostalgic.
Kovacs piece: Diesel, or Shabby Duke
Favourites: Film: Le Grande Bleue. Phrase: C’est la vie. Animal: Chameleon. Vehicle: 1968 Fiat 500. Place in New Zealand: The West Coast
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Kovacs Design Furniture
Showroom viewing by appointment only - please phone 03 384 2999