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131 years and going strong

Peter King standing in front of his collection of old woodworking tools in his family museum. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

ELISA VORSTER
[email protected]

Peter King’s family have been everything from builders to undertakers but are better known for their outstanding woodworking trade dating back to 1887.

The Carterton resident has owned and managed Kings Woodworking Company on Broadway since 1976.

It was started 131 years ago by his great-grandfather, Daniel Thomas King.

The showroom is filled with the beautiful kitchen benchtops the Carterton business has become nationally renowned for, thanks to Peter King’s innovative thinking and previous experience in solid timber lamination.

“For the past 35 years we have been building timber benchtops and individual wooden kitchens,” King said.

At first glance, it would be understandable if you didn’t know what other treasures are scattered around the showroom.

On one side of the room, King has a table containing rough off-cuts of wood, including wood from a tree which came down during the 1968 storm that plagued the Wahine.

“All of them tell a story,” he said.

A photo from the museum with Peter King’s grandfather at far right.
PHOTO/SUPPLIED

On the other side of the showroom is a small family museum, with items ranging from staff photos with his father, grandfather and uncle, to woodworking tools found in the old factory.

There is also an undertaker’s jacket from his great-grandfather’s funeral home, a book of his grandfather’s hand-drawn blueprints of stucco houses and his great-grandfather’s instructional book on joinery.

While some items were part of the family collection, others were given to him to add to the museum.

The small museum reflects the rich history of the family business, which had come a long way since its humble beginnings.

King said his company helped introduce timbers such as blackwood, elm and macrocarpa to the commercial market and had become distinguished within the industry for using sustainable plantation species – something which wasn’t common practice at the time.

“All forestry in the world has to be sustainable, even native timbers,” he said.

And King has 48 species of timber to choose from, including a large selection of sustainable native timbers, which he proudly displays on the back wall of his showroom.

“The beauty of the grain is what captures people and the finish we do is the secret of what captures that grain.

“People like timber but rely on us to produce stuff which is beautiful.”

The company had completed over 14,000 jobs around the country, from Norfolk Island to Chatham Islands, Kaitaia, Bluff and “everywhere in between”.

A man of many talents, King had also helped make a hot air balloon in his own home – something which was a much-loved hobby of his.

He was keen to get out ballooning more often but said his business was still thriving and he had no plans to stop working any time soon.

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