Our Story

Shade Systems’ heritage is woven through the decades by a family of makers and innovators, with roots stretching down family trees over 80 years to pre-WWII. Our story began in Dargaville with one man, our founder Mr S.R. Suckling.

The Shade Systems Story

We believe shade has the power to activate better, healthier space for living. From the canvas tents tailored by Mr S.R. Suckling long ago for the war effort, to the canopies and shade sails that now shelter our children and families from the elements, our shade is built for generations.

We believe in building for the future. S.R. Suckling Canvas Goods & Manufacturing was passed to our founders’ sons in 1976 and is now proud to be in the hands of a 3rd generation of shademakers, expertly weaving and innovating shade for the generations to come.

Over the years, the name on our door may have changed but people and family have always been at the heart of everything we do. There’s nothing complicated about that.

Key milestones in our story

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 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.


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!


We bring our manufacturing and export division back under the Shade Systems umbrella creating strength in our service offering: Design, Manufacture &  Installation
The Shade Systems Story
The Shade Systems Story

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