DAILY GRIND

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

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