Meet Gen Znarok

“There’s a right material for the right application.”

“It’s important to look at the full lifecycle of the product that you’re using for your project, not just at the point of production” says New Zealand Steel Business Development Manager, Gen Znarok.

Gen has spent the last decade working with New Zealand Steel, a company guided by the philosophy to produce safe and sustainable products, end to end - from material sourcing right through to end-of-use repurposing.

“We’ve always been quite a unique business. Most steel manufacturers source their raw materials through mining; instead, we extract ours from the black sand beaches of New Zealand’s West Coast, where the ironsand was formed 2.5 million years ago from rock deposited on the coast by volcanic activity in the Taranaki region. 75% of the mined sand is returned to the site for replanting, where the reinstatement of the dune formations and land contours where the ironsands have been mined, is a key focus. This involves extensive planting with marram grass and native plants.

We follow the principles of avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle; and if waste generation simply cannot be avoided, we continually seek to lessen the amount created and work hard to find positive ways to reuse and recycle any remaining waste. An example of this is slag, the main by-product of steel-making, also known as steel aggregate, which is most commonly used for roading, soil conditioning, and even sports field drainage. 60% of the steel mill’s electricity is generated on site and 80% of water is reused, recycled or sold.

New Zealand Steel operates a fully integrated steel mill in Glenbrook, around 60km south of Auckland, where they have been supporting New Zealand’s building industry with quality flat-rolled steel products for more than 50 years. “If the past few years are anything to go by – with border, imported product and freight restrictions – having a local manufacturing facility is of significant benefit to our communities, industry and the economy.”

Michele Saee Teulo

The product range that Gen works with most closely is COLORSTEEL®, she says. “It’s an the most well-known roofing brand in New Zealand and has been the material of choice for decades now due to its durability and extensive colour range that offers the perfect blend of design flexibility and strength. In my role, I get the opportunity to work as a brand ambassador for COLORSTEEL® and Axxis® Steel for Framing in collaboration with decision-makers including architects, designers, builders and roofers.”

Two recent COLORSTEEL® projects of note, Gen says, are a family bach located at Waihi Beach and the ‘Hub’ by Dunlop Builders.

The design and build of an iconic family bach in Waihi, was inspired by a classic, minimalist Kiwi aesthetic. The trapezoidal profile paired with the innovative, light-reflecting COLORSTEEL® Matte in the hugely popular FlaxPod® colour, delivers a premium yet still simple finish, the perfect result for a kiwi family beach bach. It’s truly an understated way of standing out.

Michele Saee Teulo

Michele Saee Teulo

“Dunlop Builders new ‘Hub’ office space, located in Wanaka is the first office space in New Zealand to achieve Passive House Plus Certification, so it’s a thrill that COLORSTEEL DRIDEX® was used for the roof and walls.  COLORSTEEL DRIDEX® combines a thin layer of a specialised absorbent fleece to the underside of the COLORSTEEL® sheet, negating the need for traditional underlay roofing and cladding paper. The fleece works to absorb accumulating moisture from the roof cavity and then releases it when conditions improve, delivering superior condensation absorption and enhanced ventilation. The Dunlop team chose FlaxPod® Matte, a colour that works exceptionally well to accentuate the natural hues of the timber.  I love how the team at Dunlop describe their new offices, saying it is essentially an ‘architectural shed’, an office and workspace that reflects who they are as a company and fit with their commitment to mastery, home and community.  

We’re also keeping a close eye on the increasing use of COLORSTEEL® as a cladding material.  With the move toward denser living environments, the COLORSTEEL® Matte range is a great option, with lower glare for nearby neighbours, whilst delivering a more premium looking aesthetic

Michele Saee Teulo

New Zealand Steel continues to innovate, Gen says, with a focus on creating sustainable products that don’t compromise on quality. “The best thing about steel is that it is infinitely recyclable; the future opportunity for us really lies in improving its production and recycled applications. We have just announced a landmark partnership with Government to install an electric arc furnace during 2026, which will allow us to use scrap steel as a raw material. This change to our manufacturing process will see at least 300,000 tonnes of scrap steel stay in NZ and not be exported, and will halve our coal usage. Environmentally speaking, this will enable us to reduce carbon output by 800,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off New Zealand roads.”

All COLORSTEEL® solutions carry the Eco Choice Aotearoa Label, Gen says, which means they can contribute to the achievement of maximum points in Homestar and Green Star materials credits with NZ Green Building Council. “We were also one of the first companies to go down the path toward environmental product declaration (EPD), showing transparency of our manufacturing.”

It’s the relationships that keep Gen most excited about her work and the future for New Zealand Steel. “I’m lucky to spend my days working with a wide range of industry professionals, many of whom have developed into long-lasting friendships. I’m happy to have the opportunity to get out and meet a lot of people through our regular trade shows and industry events. One of the key messages I always want to deliver is to be diligent about the products that they’re using. COLORSTEEL® is the most widely known brand in NZ; it’s easy for some people to think that all coloured steel is COLORSTEEL® and this is not the case. As COLORSTEEL® continues to become more and more popular for roofing and cladding solutions, we’ve seen imported materials in the market that may not have the same environmental or durability credentials as we have. It’s important to do your homework, work with a reputable installer, and ensure you are getting genuine COLORSTEEL®complete with a peace-of-mind warranty.”

To learn more and connect with Gen, visit and and follow New Zealand Steel on LinkedIn.

Bex De Prospo
Bex De Prospo