Our values


The swings were origianlly designed and made by Thomas Mortimer of Sweden and Jenny Etherington of New Zealand. Jenny and Thomas met in Western Australia in 1986. They lived between Sweden and New Zealand for many years until settling in rural New Zealand in Jenny's home village Matiere, a few months before their daughter Solvej was born. 

Thomas, previously a cabinet maker and teacher, wanted to share the wonderful memories he had of swings in this own childhood with his young daughter,  and designed the first Solvej Swing for their daughter in 1993. He had a dream of owning his own workshop, and Jenny the dream of providing employment in her rural home village. Coupled with the overwhelming positive response to the swing they established a design company. Both are particularly passionate about design, and environmental and social responsibility, values imbued in every aspect of the business. Twenty-five years later production remains in Matiere with the wood and sewing workshops in local heritage buildings we are in the process of restoring. 
Solvej and Jenny now run the company.

Business philosophies and principals



Number one in high quality is good craftsmanship. This leads to a good quality product for the customer, and also gives work satisfaction. We believe in continually developing the skills of all people involved in our business. That is not enough though. A good craftsman also needs good materials. We believe in using the highest quality materials, tempered with control over price, insuring the product will be long lasting. Good design is also an important part of high quality. Products need to function well and be attractive to the eye.

fair and kind

We believe in a fair price for all involved. Creators, makers, sellers, delivery-people and you. Everyone, down to the community providing the infrastructure. Too often it seems like one or more of those involved are treated unfairly.

Our swings are New Zealand made. We choose to make in Aotearoa because we place the utmost value on giving back to our local community. Our workshops are 400m from our home and in the rural village our founder Jenny grew up in. Providing opportunity for employment and growth locally is a cornerstone of our business.

Local production also means we have more control, better quality and less environmental impact as we can make to order, reducing our waste.

Care for the environment

As individuals and a family we try to live in balance with nature. We are an integral part of and dependent on our one earth. A business has to operate by these same principals.


We design and craft our products with longevity in mind. Our goal is to make beautiful items that can be used and loved for many years. This means when sourcing materials we make sure they are best fit for purpose.


All timber we use is locally sustainably sourced or FSC certified, always coming from planted or sustainable and ethical sources. Our wood is naturally weather durable to avoid chemical treatment. We use a non-toxic natural Tung oil on the wood.


Our natural felt wool is hypo-allergenic and soft and strong. Wool is one of our favourite sustainable and renewable materials. Our felt is made from 100% strong New Zealand and Australian wool. New Zealand are world leaders in sheep farming animal welfare. As it is naturally biodegradable our woollen products are for indoor use only.


The choice of fabric was difficult as it had to be suitable to handle the elements. A particularly tough challenge in the southern hemisphere UV. After careful consideration we decided to use a 100% acrylic canvas because it is rot-proof. It is also very easy care. Previously we have made an organic swing from hemp. We find that a material which is harder to care for a deteriorates didn't have the longevity for people to use for multiple generations. Rather than being more environmental it simply encouraged the throw away culture we are trying to avoid. Our biodegradable alternative now is wool, for indoors only.


The rope we use on our Solvej Swings is a NZ made soft high performance polyester yachting braid. We use synthetic rope as it does not rot. Polyester has excellent UV resistance and is strong. We do not use a polyester mix to improve recyclability. As with any of our products you are welcome to return them to us at the end of their useful life for us to recycle.


We like to contribute to society in more ways than just working and paying taxes. To be a healthy and happy individual we believe that one must have not only the goal to look after oneself and ones family but also have unselfish goals which are outside of and bigger than oneself. We think the same principal applies for a business to be healthy and truly prosperous. We believe that the countryside is a great place for the soul.  The employment opportunities in the country are becoming less since the modern farming industry needs fewer people. We think one of the best ways to halt and  reverse the urbanization trend, and give people a real choice to live in the country, is for other industries to establish themselves in the rural area. To create employment in the rural area is one of the aims and goals that guide and drives Holmsäter.