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Hans Schuitman

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John R Campbell / Schuitman Collection

 
 

Hans Schuitman

Hans Robert Schuitman was born in Arnhem in The Netherlands on February 18th, 1944, and he arrived in New Zealand as a 13-year-old who could speak no English whatsoever,  He hated school and chose to leave Papanui High School at the age of 14 to work as a butcher and drainlayer, but this Dutch immigrant - who died on September 28th, 2001 at the age of 67 - would go on to become a leading Christchurch and New Zealand businessman, industrialist and philanthropist  —  and an extremely passionate Kiwi.

 
 

Hans at school in The Netherlands


Hans as a young man


Hans' First Group - Carolyn, Hans, Robert Moot and Bert Verkerk

 
 

Hans eventually started his apprenticeship as a toolmaker at Crown Crystal Glass in Hornby, where his father was an industrial chemist.   This work brought out his zeal for design and manufacturing and he began night classes at Christchurch Technical College, continuing his studies in engineering after completing his trade and advanced trade certificates in fitting, turning and machining, while working at PDL Industries as a tool designer from 1964.  He became a member of the Institute of Production Engineers and a Chartered Engineer, and while working at Crown Crystal, met his future wife Carolyn (née Handley) whom he married in 1967.  Hans progressed to chief design engineer at PDL, in charge of product development, tooling and manufacturing systems.

 
 

Hans in China mid-2010


Hans in China mid-2010


Hans in China mid-2010

 
 

He eventually left PDL in 1973 to establish his own company, Carlton Manufacturing, which designed and made a wide range of products.  Most notable was the multi-plug box for increasing the number of electrical outlets available from a single mains socket  —  which was Hans' brainchild.  He also secured the contract to manufacture Breville small home appliances, and as the company grew, he formed a new venture, Component Engineering.  In 1990 he set up Shape Technology.  Twenty years later, Shape was a major manufacturer in Christchurch, with a staff approaching 100 in modern premises at Addington.  The company won the Champion Canterbury Producer/Manufacturer Award in 2009 in the medium/large enterprise category, and that year Hans was also one of 16 national finalists in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards.  He had great ideas and was never, ever seen without a notebook and pen in his pocket to jot them down.

 
 

Setting the stage - Flaxood Festival 2011


Hans plays "Theme For Young Lovers" live at Flaxood Festival 2011


Setting the stage - Flaxood Festival 2011

 

 

Flaxwood Festival
White T-Shirt


John Campbell and Hans Schuitman


The Strats


John Campbell and Hans Schuitman


Flaxwood Festival
Black T-Shirt

 
 

Colleague, and co-founder of Flaxwood Festrival, John Campbell says Hans was a combination of practical man and visionary.  He mapped out a realistic course to make each dream a reality, and was very focused on whatever project he had in hand.  John remembers Hans as a very positive individual who had the knack of making people feel good about themselves  —  Hans could class people as those who saw opportunities and those who saw problems, and had no patience with the latter.

 
 

Flaxwood Festival venue a panoramic view

 
 

He built a grand home on large grounds in North Canterbury where it was possible to run events such as garden tours as fundraisers.  There he and John established Flaxwood Festival, as an annual event.  Hans had always loved music, especially the popular jazz styles of the 1960s and 1970s, and he was a huge fan of the The Shadows, learning to play electric guitar like his hero, Hank B. Marvin.  He practised for months to play in front of an audience of 500 at the first 2011, playing The Shadows' number Theme for Young Lovers - it was his first time on stage, and he loved it - his eyes sparkled, and it was a happy moment for him.