Explore the history of

Blackfern Cooperative

Assisting independent workshops

Blackfern Co-Operative was created to assist independent workshops within New Zealand with collective solutions for marketing, technology, and business facilitation. We are also addressing future challenges the automotive industry faces in an ever-changing consumer landscape.

The Blackfern model was developed by a working panel held in the Wairarapa in August 2014, where the tick of approval to proceed was given.

The Blackfern name, constitution, and principles were ratified and a "member director" was voted onto the board. Blackfern has grown from strength to strength and now comprises of over 1200 members, engaging businesses from all over New Zealand.

As a co-operative business, Blackfern Co-Operative operates under the seven international principles of cooperation.


As 2023 starts, we would like to welcome Dan Howard as the Blackfern area manager for Kapiti and Manawatu.


It has been a great year, with growth in both membership numbers and engagement from our members. We have said goodbye to some suppliers, and said hello to many more new suppliers, with some strong relationships being forged that can only help to bring better opportunities for our members.

In 2022 we have significantly extended the functionality our eBits web app to include more tools, including the ability to browse our rewards store and place an order.

We have finished 2022 with a great prize draw to win a Weber BBQ, a competition that has easy entry criteria for all our members.

Once again we look forward to next year with the anticipation of becoming even bigger and better than before.


Blackfern ended 2021 as a mutualised cooperative with members becoming owners. We increased our membership to over 1,200 members, that's a 50% increase since the end of 2019!

In 2021 we introduced our eBits parts request tool, making it easy for members to ask suppliers if they have hard to find parts.


A tricky start to 2020 meant COVID-19 lockdown for everyone, but Blackfern emerged and resumed its forward momentum toward new heights, being on track to reach 1000 members by year end.


Continued growth across the country saw Blackfern Co-Operative becoming a recognised and trusted brand within New Zealand. New suppliers, including YHI and Centrix, increased the diversity being offered to members. In December 2019 we were joined by Jim Lockwood, providing a localised Blackfern experience for Eastern North Island members.

By the end of 2019 Blackfern Membership was in excess of 800 members.


August 2018 saw founding director Roger Castleton transition to full-time. Blackfern Co-Operative celebrated its first issue of shares, whilst FMG became a supplier and two new area managers were appointed. Christine Lambie joined Blackfern in Christchurch and Fliss Wilson joined Blackfern in Taranaki.

Blackfern's website underwent modification to become an active online facilitation portal, streamlining processes for all stakeholders.

Blackfern held its first overseas conference, with a nine day cruise to the Fijian Islands.


Membership expanded greatly in 2017, with significant increases in Northland and soaring nationally.

By the end of 2017 Blackfern Co-Operative had achieved a total membership of 215.


To drive growth in Auckland and the Northern region, Blackfern Co-Operative welcomed Tim Peters in 2016.

With Tim's efforts Blackfern achieved significant growth.


In February 2015 Blackfern Co-Operative completed its first transaction between members and achieved a total of 91 members by year end. Most members being in the lower North Island and Hawkes Bay.

We were joined by Steven Coombes to assist in the Wellington region. His and Blackfern's efforts were greatly assisted by foundation suppliers including the Mount Shop, Koba Batteries, 1st Autoparts, Q8 Oil, AS group, and Value Tyres. Their combined efforts created the basis of a truly Kiwi offering to members.

Also in 2015, Blackfern joined the New Zealand Cooperative business association.


On 5th August, at Masterton in the Wairarapa a quorum was formed by fourteen workshop owners, voting to form a New Zealand run Cooperative buying group for the automotive industry. Blackfern's Constitution was created, ratified, and Kevin Tunnell was voted in as the member Director.

Blackfern Cooperative pledged two mottos of "Bringing people together" and "For New Zealand."