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A short history of linseed oil paint in New Zealand

From the 1840s when the British colonized New Zealand till the late 1950s houses were painted in New Zealand with linseed oil paint. In the 1950s plastic polymer based paints where developed as spinoff from the Petrochemical Industry, and these paints took off because they had the advantage of being faster drying and cheaper by volume to produce than linseed oil paints.

Since that time, plastic polymer based paints have taken over the paint market in New Zealand which amounts to around 25 million litres of paint every year. This story is akin to how plastic bags replaced paper bags, where plastic bags were cheaper and more convenient than paper bags. But we now know that plastic bags pollute the Environment as they don't  decompose and are full of chemical toxins. The same thing applies to plastic based acrylic paints, they are full of chemical toxins and contain around 30% plastic polymers.


The hope at Ekopaints is that we can return to using environmentally friendly and sustainable linseed oil paints in New Zealand.


The Plunket rooms at Strathmore Park in Dunedin being painted by Plunket committee members, 1950.

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A newspaper clipping from Clutha Leader in 1915. Over a hundred years ago we were painting our houses with linseed oil paint here in New Zealand (all be it with a lead additive).You can once again buy linseed oil paint in New Zealand, this time Ottosson linseed oil paint from Sweden (without the lead)!

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