Our Story

Learn about where we came from and our history.

The Shade Systems Story

Our Beginnings

Shade Systems is a New Zealand family business with activity dating back to before WWII. We are now in the 3rd generation of family ownership and management. Mr S.R. Suckling worked most of his life in the Canvas trade, including running a large team of men manufacturing army tents for the government’s war effort. He started a business under his own name in 1964. He handed this down to his sons in 1976 and from 2005, D.R. Suckling took over ownership. In summary, the family has been involved in shelter and shade for nearly 80 years and formally trading as a commercial entity for over 50 years.

Key milestones in our timeline

Read on to learn about significant dates in the history of Shade Systems.

The Shade Systems Story
The Shade Systems Story


S. R. Suckling Canvas goods/manufacturing established.


Business management taken on by S. R. Suckling’s sons.


Began marketing/selling products nationwide.

In the 1990’s, under the new ‘Shade Systems’ banner, the company started making sail and shade structures exclusively. As a result, Shade Systems expanded significantly, moving to a new building and recruiting expert staff, with a focus on new structural ideas and designs:


First education project for Selwyn Park Primary School.

– 1997

Shade Systems name is born.


New purpose made factory built for Canvas and Shade fabrication in Dargaville.


The the business management was handed on to D. R. Suckling.

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Covered Outdoor Learning Areas (COLA Canopies)

Most noteworthy, a turning point for the company occurred in 2006 with the introduction of Covered Outdoor Learning Areas (COLA Canopies). In brief, we derived the concept from polycarbonate-covered canopies, where polycarbonate roofing provides shade and weather protection:


First COLA Canopy installed at Whangarei Primary School.


PVC Tensile Membrane roofing concept was born.


Export division begins.


First PVC Tensile Membrane COLA was installed at Cornwall Park School (Auckland).

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Taking Shade Systems International

Over the last few years, Shade Systems has gone from strength to strength. Therefore we now produce shade structures for international customers, exporting our products globally:


Becomes a registered company (DAPSCO Limited).


Management split between NZ Projects and Export division.


First COLA Canopy installed overseas (Rarotonga National Auditorium).


Opened Auckland office. Also introduced shareholders.
Shade Systems becomes part of an international network with industry-leading shade and weatherproof solution providers: Greenline and Streetspace, with offices in NSW, Australia and Lympne, UK, respectively.


22 COLA Canopies installed in the past 18 months and over 50 in the past decade.
Staff working at remote offices across New Zealand.


Our NEW large purpose-made shade and membrane fabrication building is complete!
The Shade Systems Story
The Shade Systems Story

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