About Us

About Us

Our Team

Our Heritage

The Ellis families' involvement in manufacturing outdoor products began in the 1920's when Roland Ellis combined his love of mountaineering with the manufacture of his company's bedding products. Roland developed and made the first down-filled sleeping bags in the Southern Hemisphere. From the 1930's the company's sleeping bags became essential equipment for all New Zealand outdoor enthusiasts. The wide recognition of their excellence was endorsed on the international stage when Ed Hillary and Tenzing Norgay used them during their first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953.

Roland Ellis, Mount Aspiring Station before the first guideless ascent of Mt Aspiring. December 1927.

Photo: Ellis Family Archives

Roland Ellis's homemade mountain tent design. Copyright: New Zealand Alpine Club, 1935 Journal.

Roland's son, Murray, joined the family business in 1948. A keen tramper, mountaineer, and qualified engineer, he was a member of Sir Edmund Hillary's New Zealand team of the 1957-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Murray helped to establish the original Scott Base and was one of the two engineers who kept the three Ferguson farm tractors going during the depot laying expedition to the South Pole. Their five-man team (the “Old Firm”) was the first to reach the pole overland since Amundsen and Scott in 1911-12.

Murray continued his father’s work, developing down-filled clothing and manufacturing New Zealand's first synthetic fibre filled sleeping bags.

Fergusson tractor in a crevasse on the Polar Plateau, December 1958 Left to Right: Ed Hillary, Jim Bates, Peter Mulgrew, Derek Wright, Doug McKenzie (press correspondent).

Photo: Murray Ellis

The "Old Firm" arriving at the South Pole, January 4th 1958 Left to Right: Jim Bates (mechanic), Peter Mulgrew (radio operator) Ed Hillary (leader and navigator), Murray Ellis (engineer), Derek Wright (cameraman)

Photo: Murray Ellis Collection

Keeping the family tradition alive, Murray's son David joined Arthur Ellis & Co in 1980. As an active climber, tramper and ski mountaineer he spent nine years developing and selling a range of packs, tents and outdoor clothing to complement the company's sleeping bags. He was the first to develop and introduce an adjustable pack harness for internal frame packs in New Zealand.

David’s early climbing years. The first ascent of the Donne Face of Mt Underwood 1974. Left to right: David Ellis, Mark Easton, Al Soon, Colin Strang - Donne Valley, Fiordland.

Photo: David Ellis Collection

Earth Sea Sky started in 1990 when David teamed up with clothing designer Sydney Mulligan.

Photo: David Ellis Collection

Earth Sea Sky was formed in December 1990 when David teamed up with clothing designer, Sydney Mulligan. Between them they had more than 25 years experience in New Zealand's outdoor clothing industry. This experience in design, production and sales was used to fill a growing need in the market for outdoor clothing that combined comfort, style and performance. David and Sydney introduced designs and colours that linked function and performance with great fit, attention to detail and fashion. Their first range of 20 garments included tramping jackets, oilskins, waterproof ski wear, 60/40 anorak windshells and Polartec thermal fleeces.

Since then, most of New Zealand's outdoor clothing brands have taken their production offshore. Earth Sea Sky is committed to remaining New Zealand made. The Ellis family believes this is vital in maintaining the brand’s consistent quality and uniqueness.

The Ellis family on the high peak of Mt Rolleston, Arthur's Pass, January 2006. Left to Right: Mark, Jane, Michael, Ben.

Photo: David Ellis

Our Philosophy


We are driven to make the best outdoor performance clothing. Years of experience enable us to source fabrics from the finest fabric mills in the world. During the design process we attend to every detail to determine comfort, style, fit and performance, so that your investment in quality clothing will be rewarded.

made in new zealand

For us it's about local talent creating and making specialised garments here in our own back yard. We are committed to keeping production in New Zealand with our factories based in Dunedin, Christchurch, Hastings and Nelson. We believe this gives us a real advantage in terms of unique design and consistent quality.


We value our customers, and make an effort to keep in touch with them. We love to hear from anyone using our gear. Currently this includes photographers, artists, kiwi-catchers, guides, mountaineers, scientists, through to fly fishing fabric suppliers, and some of New Zealand’s most accomplished outdoors people.


We use our own outdoor and travel experience to create Earth Sea Sky designs and have you covered from your daily commute, to multi-sport races, intrepid travels, mountain adventures, and beyond. Our products are designed to match the environment they are worn in.


We strive to be the best, not the biggest. Our production runs are small and sustainable and are aligned to our market demand. Our garments use fabrics and construction techniques that increase their life beyond expectation.


We are a family owned and operated business. Earth Sea Sky was established in 1990 but our family have been in the forefront of New Zealand made outdoor clothing and equipment for the past 86 years. We maintain a hands on approach in all aspects of our business.