Three P&O Cruises ships have added the sport of bocce to their list of on-board activities. They are using an innovative portable court developed by Wellington company Packaworld.
A Wellington businessman has single-handedly steered his innovative portable products company to international success.
Packaworld, a provider of blow-up sporting goods, has recently secured a contract with five ships operated by P&O Cruises, which will use specially designed inflatable bocce courts on board.
Bocce is similar to lawn bowls and usually played on a sizeable court.
The traditional bulky wooden courts had posed a significant barrier to offering the Italian sport on cruise ships or in shared spaces in the past.
Packaworld chief executive Peter Roberts said the inflatable, Packabocce courts could be used inside or outdoors, and can be set up and packed away in minutes.
The former telecommunications engineer also designed inflatable volleyball and futsal goals for cruise beach excursions and water polo goals for on-board swimming pools.
The deal follows the success of Packabocce during the Asia Pacific Special Olympics .
The international Special Olympics rules are now set to change to allow the inflatable course to be used in competitions.
Roberts said his latest achievement was just the tip of the iceberg.
Packaworld chief executive Peter Roberts has seen international demand for his inflatable bocce courts, which are now used on ships operated by P&O Cruises.
He was in talks with other cruise ships, had more products in the pipeline and was working towards establishing a 'Packa' brand that was synonymous with innovation, problem solving and quality.
Rugby was the fastest growing sport in the US and believed there was a market for the product.
He was so busy taking the Bocce products around the world, he did not have time to market his other products and welcomed business partners to take them on.
The value would come from investors experience and not their money, he said.
"It's my ambition to have Packaworld branded products everywhere in the world but to do that I will need a better distribution networks. It may be time to bring people on board to support and help with my ambitions."
Packaworld International, which has been in operation since 2013, was making money that was invested back into the company.
Roberts, who has no employees, said a key driver was the ability to run the business himself.
"It's still good to have people around you as part of a business, so I have a good accountant and lawyer and bring in people with expertise when I need them."
The products are manufactured in China and the maturity of his business operation has seen him outsource warehousing, stock and orders.
The New Zealand market was limited and it took him about three years to figure out where to go.
"I realised the way to grow this business was to create a brand that someone will pay money for. My exit policy - but not yet because I'm having fun - is to build a brand that people will pay money for."
The Special Olympics was a trigger point for the international expansion, which started a wave of interest in his products.
He was contacted by Wicker Park Bocce Club in Chicago, which is now the United States distributor.
"Relationships are key in business and I like integrity. These guys were honest, trustworthy, they had my product at the forefront. I have now helped them build a business - the American Bocce Company, which has 1500 registered people who play in leagues."
He was amazed the impact his storage solutions has had on the world, he said.