Ayla Hutchinson

Ayla Hutchinson's bright idea for a safe and effective way to cut kindling was sparked by seeing her mother nick her finger while using an unwieldy axe. Although (luckily) no major injuries were incurred, Ayla's problem solving brain kicked in, seeing a problem that surely many people faced. As part of a science fair project Ayla developed the prototype kindling cracker, which consisted of an axe head welded by her dad Vaughn onto a metal plate. She won a prize at the Fonterra Taranaki Science and Technology Fair, and went on to refine the product, adding a safety cage to prevent any injury from falling on the axe, and flaring out the bottom of the axe to allow the kindling to split completely.

From the initial design, Ayla has been flying high with the success of her product. After the success of the Science Fair, she took her Kindling Cracker design to Fieldays, using her prize money from the science fair to pay for banners and advertising material. While there she won both the Fieldays Young Inventor of the Year and the James and Wells Intellectual Property Award. She also had over 400 people register their interest in the product, and from there the business has grown exponentially.

Ayla's Kindling Crackers are made in New Zealand and shipped all over the country, The whole family is involved with getting the products ready for export, and Ayla's next step is getting the product licensed to sell overseas. In 2015, she entered into a deal to export her crackers to the American market. She was also awarded the Most Inspiring Individual Award at the New Zealand Innovator's Award for her product in 2013.

Ayla's success is the latest in a long line of inventions from Taranaki locals the Hutchinsons. Ayla's dad Vaughan is an engineer who has patented and sold a number of cable management systems, and her great-grandfather William Hutchinson ran a successful engineering business in Hawera. He manufactured and installed the Hutchinson Individual Milker. Even more successful was Ayla's great-great-great-grand uncle George Fell Hutchinson, who invented and developed the "G.F. Hutchinson Water Ram", which pumped water from rivers to storage tanks, and the "Hutchinson Vacuum Pump" which provided vacuum for farm milking machines. Taranaki proved a great inspiration for these men to develop ideas to make the lives of those in the region easier, and Ayla is continuing on this tradition with her Kindling Cracker.


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