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We recently caught up with Greig Brebner, the founder of Blunt Umbrellas, to find out why his company is supporting Forest & Bird’s work.

Many of us have misplaced or replaced an umbrella in our life, but a new Bird of the Year brolly from Blunt Umbrellas is one you will definitely want to hang on to.

Forest & Bird magazine

A version of this story was first published in the Winter 2022 issue of Forest & Bird magazine.

F&B Magaziner winter 2022 cover with a green mokomoko lizard

The limited edition umbrella combines engineering excellence with a vibrant canopy design by one of New Zealand’s leading native bird artists, Melissa Boardman.

The stunning design (under wraps for now!) features the last five Bird of the Year winners, and a proportion of the proceeds from sales will go to Forest & Bird. It will be launched ahead of this year’s Bird of the Year competition in October.

Blunt Umbrellas founder Greig Brebner, an engineer with a lifelong passion for design, wanted to create a long-lasting brolly and change the perception of umbrellas as cheap throwaway items.

"People are better to spend more money now and know they’re going to have an amazing experience for many years with that one product rather than have a bad experience with a multitude of throwaway products,” he said. “It’s really about that buy-for-life mentality.”

The idea to develop a better umbrella first came to him while doing his OE in London in 1999. The tall Kiwi was navigating a crowded and rainy Regent Street, dodging poor-quality umbrellas and the risk of being poked in the eye.

“I knew it would be difficult, and that’s what appealed to me. I felt if it was easy to come up with a better umbrella everyone would be doing it.”

Greg Brebner, working on the Blunt Umbrella design

After a number of years of experimentation, Greig came up with a design that allowed the umbrella to resist the fiercest of weather events.

Revolutionary and patented rounded umbrella tips prevent potential eye injuries and ensured a distinctive shape.

Sales started in 2009, and today Blunt Umbrellas are sold in New Zealand and Australia and around 28 other countries.

It was a hard road to disrupt what is a very traditional industry, and Greig acknowledges the key contributions of early partners in getting the company off the ground.

As part of Blunt’s commitment to maintaining a life-long relationship with customers, the company offers a two-year guarantee, as well as a full repair and spare parts service globally.

Greig and his team deeply value responsible consumerism and caring for the planet. These values led them to work with Forest & Bird.

“The Blunt team loves working on collaborative projects like this that have a deeper purpose and a greater good,” added Greig.

The Blunt Umbrella canopy provides the perfect canvas to showcase New Zealand’s incredibly special birdlife, says Forest & Bird relationship manager Jo Prestwood.

“It’s a pleasure to partner with a creative New Zealand-based company with a strong sense of responsibility to its customers and the environment.

“Keep your eyes peeled for some special Blunt Umbrella giveaways in the run up to New Zealand’s most hotly contested bird election of the year.”

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