Kennetts gets new post-quake home, after 131 years

TAMLYN STEWART
Last updated 05:00 20/11/2012
Tony Kennett, 83, a third-generation watchmaker of the family business Kennetts Jewellers, inspects a ring in their newly-opened shop in Sydenham.
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
EYE ON THE PRIZE: Tony Kennett, 83, a third-generation watchmaker of the family business Kennetts Jewellers, inspects a ring in their newly-opened shop in Sydenham.

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After being forced out of its home of 131 years by the February 22 earthquake, one of Christchurch's oldest family businesses finally has a new place to call its own.

In 1880, Tony Kennett's grandfather founded Kennetts Jewellers, which became an institution in High St.

Kennett's father was born in a back room of the city centre building at 209 High St in 1889.

Kennett, now 83, started working in the shop when he was 16. In the 1960s, his wife, Neroli, joined him in managing the store.

He came out of semi-retirement late in 2010 to help repair more than 40 grandfather clocks damaged in the September 4 earthquake.

But the February 22 earthquake irreparably damaged the building. It cracked the facade, causing it to lean on to the street.

Kennetts Jewellers was one of many buildings demolished on the block bounded by Manchester, High and Tuam streets.

But in March this year, Kennett's daughter Anne, who manages the business today, signed a six-year lease for 462 Colombo St.

Anne, Tony and Neroli opened a pop-up store together with Donnell Jewellers at the site for five months.

Tomorrow, Kennetts Jewellers officially opens on its own in the same building.

It has a different name: Kennett Crafted Jewels, to reflect the fact that the business was "changing with the times".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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