Atlantis — Born+Bred for Bathrooms

The Warner family tell us how they are making showers and bathroom products that not only look great but are designed to last.


Atlantis is colos­sal, and not what I was expect­ing. I had envis­aged a small show­er show­room, but this is a mam­moth and amaz­ing­ly chic build­ing on the fringe of the Tau­riko com­mer­cial hub.

I’m here to meet Mar­ket­ing Man­ager Jo, but soon find I’m inter­view­ing an entire clan. Found­ing father Bruce Warn­er, wife Elaine, and their three sons, Lewis, Alex and Cur­tis, pile into the staffroom armed with oodles of food. Jo comes too, of course. I feel like a stranger at some­one else’s din­ner table, but I’m cer­tain­ly not uncom­fort­able. Ban­ter and jibes cre­ate a hub­bub — every­one is talk­ing at once.

Jo isn’t actu­al­ly blood,” Bruce points out, “but she’s still fam­i­ly. She’s been here a long time and is a very impor­tant part of our busi­ness.”

He tries to say more but Alex speaks over him, “This place is all about fam­i­ly.”

His chil­dren call Bruce THE INVENTOR. Inno­v­a­tive, deter­mined and con­stant­ly scrib­bling ideas on nap­kins or scraps of wood, Bruce’s life mis­sion is to cre­ate the per­fect show­er.

It all start­ed out of the neces­si­ty for a tiled show­er in our own home over 20 years ago: one that wouldn’t leak. I’m very par­tic­u­lar about qual­i­ty. I can’t get my head around just mak­ing some­thing to sell. That’s not how it works. I was always taught, when you do some­thing, do it once and do it well.”

It’s not long before Bruce is inter­rupt­ed. Lewis, THE BUSINESSMAN, is the eldest and loves a good debate.

I always knew in the back of my mind that I’d get involved in the fam­i­ly busi­ness. When I final­ly approached Dad about it, he promised to buy me a ute if I start­ed the next day. I’m still wait­ing for it!

The thing about our busi­ness is that no one had ever done it before. This isn’t a stock­stan­dard show­er unit. We serve a niche mar­ket and always try to be ahead of the curve.”

Alex, the mid­dle son and apt­ly named THE CREATIVE, is still at uni­ver­si­ty study­ing design, but jug­gles his stud­ies while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly design­ing for Atlantis.

The design process takes time. I’m a bit like Dad in that sense, and we both under­stand that it’s all about detail. It needs to be done prop­er­ly.”

Cur­tis, THE MAKER, is the youngest and fresh out of Tau­ran­ga Boys’ Col­lege. “I prefer to be behind the tools; I enjoy mak­ing things.” He doesn’t say much, but doesn’t need to. The praise from the rest of the team comes in thick and strong.

Cur­tis can make any­thing!” “He’s the clev­er one!” “What­ev­er it is, he’ll chal­lenge him­self to do it!”

Behind every good man there’s an even bet­ter wom­an, and behind the­se four blokes is Elaine, THE LEVEL HEAD.

I’m just in the back­ground, keep­ing an eye on what’s going on.”

I know instant­ly how mod­est this com­ment is, because I’ve already heard about the late nights at the Atlantis fac­to­ry, and the con­stant bang­ing and tin­ker­ing with old cars in the Warn­er fam­i­ly shed.

The boys all have very dif­fer­ent but com­ple­men­tary skill sets. Bruce used to do every­thing him­self, but now he has a good sound­ing board in the boys, in addi­tion to a long-stand­ing, hard-work­ing team that we con­sid­er to be part of our fam­i­ly.”

I realise we haven’t talked much about show­ers but we don’t real­ly need to. Each fam­i­ly mem­ber brings some­thing utter­ly unique to this busi­ness and the qual­i­ty of the prod­ucts they man­u­fac­ture.

Local­ly made and often select­ed for high-end homes and com­mer­cial projects — thanks to their com­mit­ment to qual­i­ty — Atlantis tiled show­ers come with a 25-year leak-free guar­an­tee. As Bruce reit­er­ates, “You’ll nev­er have to wor­ry about your show­er leak­ing, nor replac­ing it ever again.”

After meet­ing this fam­i­ly team and learn­ing about the skills, time and pas­sion that goes into each pro­duct, I am a total believ­er.