Stuart Baxter of Baxter Panel and Paint, 35, lives in Massey with wife Loy, his son Joseph, 8, and daughter Maddison, 9. Hinerangi Vaimoso talks to him about his car restoration business.
I'm up by 4am most days.
Once I open up the shop at 8.30am, people are popping in all the time so it's nice to get in a few hours of uninterrupted work.
I'll leave home at about 4.15am and I'm here within 10 minutes.
It's a nice change from the two hours of travelling I had to do when I was working in Penrose.
I'm originally from Te Atatu North. I lived in Huia for a bit before buying my own place in Massey.
I started working in this industry straight out of school when I did an apprenticeship in Glen Innes.
My brother was a spraypainter and would let me visit him at work in the school holidays.
In my first job I had a tough boss that would always be looking over your shoulder.
It was hard but it taught me a lot about making things perfect.
I was a spraypainter in Penrose for 12 years before I decided it was time to move on so I opened my own business here in Henderson on March 1 this year.
We do a bit of panel beating but mainly painting and we specialise in custom and restoration.
It's been nice being back in the west.
There is a bit of competition about but I don't think I've stepped on anyone's toes yet. We get a lot of business from Tony McLeod Panelbeaters down the road so that keeps us busy.
I work here with fellow painter Raymond Learmonth and my wife does all the administration.
The great thing about this job is the type of work you get and the people you meet.
People who come in here for custom work and restoration are just so passionate about cars and they know their cars inside out. Their love for their car makes me put in even more of an effort.
People want to invest and have the job done properly so I'm very big on not letting anything out that door unless it's perfect.
People often want to spend a bit of time talking about their cars while they're here too so you've really got to make time for that.
What's even better is when people win awards with the work you've done.
I shut the doors of the workshop at about 6pm. Depending on how busy I am, I might stay for a while and do some more work.
It's been great having this because I get to spend more time with my family since they can pop down and visit whenever and spending time with my wife and kids is what I like to do to relax.
My son's showing a bit of interest in the business with plans to paint and design on his longboard.
I'd never force him into the business but we'll see. He might like it.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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