Oliver is a traditionally trained joiner. During his four year apprenticeship in a German workshop he equipped himself with the knowledge and skills to build interior and exterior doors, windows, stairs, tables, bookshelves as well as fitted furniture and cabinetry without the use of metal fasteners.
To deepen his appreciation of environmental protection and conservation and his passion for timber he undertook advanced studies in Freising/Bavaria, one of the oldest universities in Germany. Further studies also took him to Finland. He graduated with a Diploma as a Forest Engineer and then worked for the Bavarian Forest Service.
His interest in architecture and furniture design led him travel through Europe, Canada and finally to New Zealand.
He began by restoring rotten sash windows in the Homestead to their original style, making new doors for the coach house and old horse stables as well as carving a new estate entrance sign.
The experiences he gained as an travelling journeyman increased his desire for developing a woodworking business at Oruawharo Homestead in 2010. The focus is on producing garden furniture (Lutyens Garden Bench and Planter boxes) and bespoke furniture/cabinetry made from locally sourced native woods. He also enjoys restoring decorative antique wooden fittings in traditional houses.
Oliver blends the use of modern and traditional tools and methods to make fine furniture and cabinetry of functionality and durability for discerning people who value craftsmanship and fine quality.
His latest additions to the Homestead include building a butlers pantry cabinet in Rimu and glass, functional butlers trays in Matai, a freestanding library bookcase in Rimu as well as restoring various chairs that were in dilapidated condition after nearly a century of use.
Oliver first arrived at Oruawharo Homestead in 2006 as a wwoofer and took an immediate shine to the woodworking shop, as well as the owners’ youngest daughter. Oliver and Vanessa married in 2009. They have moved the single man quarters from the 150 year old sheep station onsite at Oruawharo and are now restoring it for their home.