An Austrian master stonemason is following in her dad's footsteps creating works of art, pet headstones and gravestones in her new Hastings business.
Susanne Rauth grew up surrounded by stonemasonry in Austria.
Her father Gerhard Rauth was a stonemason, working at the back of their house in a workshop, and from the age of four she always wanted to become a stonemason.
At age 15 she left school and started an apprenticeship with her dad for three years.
From there she returned to an arts college for three years and did her stonemason master degree, which also takes about three years.
She has also learnt sculpting and woodcarving.
After working in Germany and doing a lot of travelling she settled in New Zealand 16 years ago and set up a business with her husband at the time.
This business mainly focused on kitchen benchtops and headstones and when they split, he took on the business.
At the time she was really doubting herself, but two years ago decided to jump back in and start up her own stonemasonry business.
With 30 years' experience, Susanne hopes with her new business Amongstone she will be able to move into largely creating art pieces as well as specialising in pet headstones and continuing gravestones.
"I just love stones, I grew up with it and I love that it's natural, I love what you can make with it, it's amazing for me."
Working from her home in Flaxmere, she began carving greenstone, selling pieces to friends overseas and last year she began to get some tiling jobs which she says "gave me a bit of a boost".
The artistic side of stonemasonry is her dream of where she is hoping the business will head – gemstone carving and sculpture pieces for people.
"I like working with people a lot and it gives me a chance to show my versatility," she says.
Currently taking part in a small business course "really gave me another boost of confidence".
"It meant meeting people and getting that support from the community and just getting myself out there and actually saying hey I'm here ... this is what I can do and I'm happy to make nice things for people."
Travelling around Aotearoa a lot, she is able to source different types of stones from various places.
The pet headstones are a natural stone about 20-40cm in size with the name of the pet chiselled in.
Susanne started doing these when a co-worker's dog died and she wanted to do something to help her when she was feeling down.
"I'm a pet owner myself and just having something to hold on and making something nice, it helps people a bit."
Susanne can be contacted for work on her amongstone Facebook pages.