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NIOA acquires New Zealand firearms wholesaler

27 April 2022

NIOA will expand its presence in New Zealand with the acquisition of a leading firearms and ammunition wholesale distributor as part of a strategy to extend its operations to include a permanent presence in New Zealand.

Australian-owned NIOA has acquired a 100 per cent stake in Sportways Distributors.

Sportways will be renamed as NIOA in New Zealand, building on NIOA’s relationships that already include the New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police.

Founded in 1999, Auckland-based Sportways represents more than a dozen international suppliers, distributing rifles, pistols, shotguns, ammunition, outdoor gear and accessories to a large dealer network and law enforcement community throughout the country.

In announcing the acquisition, NIOA CEO Robert Nioa said NIOA intended to build on Sportways’ two decades of serving the New Zealand community.

“NIOA has a long-standing connection with New Zealand through our support of New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Defence Force as well as the hunting and sports shooting market,” Mr Nioa said.

“NIOA has a rich heritage in the sporting, recreational and hunting markets so we have a genuine appreciation of Sportways’ reputation and its place in New Zealand.

“Sportways has a wide customer base and we are excited at the opportunity this brings to expand the offerings for New Zealanders through our global relationships and also to create local job opportunities.’’

NIOA represents more than 50 suppliers and many more world-renowned manufacturers.

It is the biggest Australian-owned supplier of firearms, weapons and ammunition to the Australian Defence Force, law enforcement agencies and commercial markets.

Sportways Director Garry Powell, who will stay on as General Manager of NIOA in New Zealand, said there were a number of synergies with NIOA.

“We both have a family-owned and operated background, we have loyal customers, we share a passion for the shooting industry and are strong advocates for the licensed firearms community and safety,’’ he said.

“These values and similarities combined with our complementary product lines mean our customers can look forward to new opportunities to access the very best equipment in the world.’’

NIOA has a presence in New Zealand through its weapons supply contracts with the New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police, but the Sportways acquisition will significantly expand its activities across Australia and New Zealand.

From modest beginnings in regional Queensland in 1973, NIOA now has approximately 200 staff with offices and operations in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Benalla, Lithgow, New Zealand and the United States, plus a joint venture operation with European defence giant Rheinmetall (Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions) in Maryborough, Qld.