It’s a fiddly job, but somebody has to do it.
Since the 1900s the Hewitt family has been in the business of manufacturing and repairing instruments.
‘‘I’m a third generation Hewitt and we were the first violin makers and repairers in New Zealand,’’ John Hewitt, owner of Hewitt’s Shop says.
He was practically born in a violin shop and by the age of 15 had worked on thousands of violins, fiddles, guitars and the like.
The 74-year-old has dealt with instruments all his life but took a break to pursue a career in building and plumbing so he could be out in the sunshine.
‘‘People started selling their pianos and violins to get televisions around the 50s so I decided on a change.’’
He continued to help his father repair instruments at home but the family had no retail shop.
‘‘Twenty years ago I had a desire to go back to it because all the kids were starting up and learning the instruments again.’’
‘‘We were able to hire out over 1000 instruments and get the teachers to get them playing.’’
Since the rise of the internet, Hewitt has noticed it has dropped off again but says they will keep going.
Hewitt has a small staff at his shop on Dominion Rd but they still repair a wide range of instruments and now manufacture high-class guitars, ukuleles and the odd violin.
‘‘At one stage we made 500 ukuleles and sent them to Honolulu, that’s how good they are.’’
The Hewitt shop was involved in the first Ukulele Festival in New Zealand held at Mt Roskill Intermediate, an event that has grown so much it is now held at Trusts Stadium in Henderson.
This year’s festival takes place on November 29 and Hewitt’s will have a stall selling their wares.
‘‘I love manufacturing things and I like seeing people happy, I like to know we have got the best ukuleles in the world,’’ he says.
Hewitt has no plans of slowing up anytime soon and loves his job .
‘‘I may be 74 but I’m witty, full of jokes and strong as a buck rat.’’
New Zealand Ukulele Festival, November 29, The Trusts Arena, Henderson.
String master: John Hewitt is a third generation repairer of instruments.