I live in the Paraoanui Valley in the Far North of New Zealand's North Island, surrounded by native bush and farmland. It's off the beaten track, visiting requires a rugged drive on rough gravel roads. I have been building professionally since 1993 in a one man workshop, my instruments are all made individually.
Part of what distinguishes me from many of today's top luthiers is the use of New Zealand woods that I employ in my instruments. While many luthiers are starting to experiment with alternative tonewoods (due to declining quality as well as the listing of all rosewoods in the CITES lists), New Zealand's indigenous timbers have been the focus of my work for nearly 25 years.
This work was pioneering and innovative at the time, and as with anything new it has taken time to develop competence and expertise. However, with persistence, I have gained a depth of knowledge in luthiery as well as insights that could not have been gained any other way. Today, I have settled into using a few favourite species selected for beauty, tone and availability. There are many more suitable species for acoustic instruments but for various reasons many are very hard to obtain in the sizes, quantities and quality necessary for concert quality instruments. However, of the woods you will see on this site, I have managed to gather together a private stock of sufficient quantity that will enable me to continue my present output for many years to come. I also continue to welcome information on the species that are on my wish list so please contact me if you think you may be able to help in this area.
Most of the tonewoods you see in these pages have their own curious stories of discovery and often involve me personally milling or resawing logs and stacking and drying timber on my own property. Resawing totara railway sleepers, floating logs down rivers, and even the felling of a kauri tree. Such is the nature of what I do, and the hours that go into each instrument, though considerable, represent only the closing part of the journey, a journey that has not atypically started for me in the forest itself. It is an immersive, hands-on approach to the craft that fits well with my relentless quest for excellence in the tone and craftsmanship of each instrument I build.