In a nondescript shed, on a nondescript Stratford street, blacksmith Joe Parkes spends hours each day, forging things of great beauty out of a roaring hot fire and pieces of heavy iron.
Tall, bearded, wearing dusty overalls and his hands covered in dirt from the workshop, Joe lights up when he talks about his craft.
"I've always loved it, ever since I first had a go when I was 12."
Joe's grandfather was a blacksmith and in 1958 his mother organised for him to become his grandad's apprentice.
"School wasn't for me, not at all, and I think she got fed up with me skipping school and not doing my work, so she paid my indenture to my grandad for me to learn the trade."
Joe says his mum paid three pounds and five shillings a year for five year's training.
Learning from his grandfather meant quickly learning not to make mistakes, and to be respectful both to others and to the craft of blacksmithing itself.
"Pop was a big man, he was a Scot, and was six foot 11. You didn't want to get on his wrong side for sure. I once saw him pull a grown man though a hedge - it was a high hedge - and throw him back over the top. You didn't mess with him."
As a young boy, training with the blacksmiths was a daily education he said.
"They worked hard, played hard and fought hard, those blacksmiths back then. Pops moved to New Zealand when I was eight, the rest of us came along too soon after, and he put everything into his trade. He really did. If you made a mistake, you fixed it in your own time and never made that mistake again. Everything had to be dead right, no mistakes in your final product."
Joe has inherited more than just his skill from his Pop. He too is an imposing looking man who you wouldn't want to mess with.
Some of the delicate pieces he produces from his forge look incongruous in his hands, but then again, creating works of art out of a coal powered fire, a collection of well-worn and used tools and a lump of metal also seems slightly improbable.
While he also later qualified as an engineer, after blacksmithing became less commercially viable, his mother's original investment in him learning the trade has not gone to waste.
Through the years, Joe has created thousands of items from his forge, from candle holders and small pieces of art of walls or gardens, to benches, stair balustrades, tables, and gates.
Some of those gates will be familiar to Taranaki people.
This year, Joe designed and created the new school gates for Midhirst school, a project he donated more than 40 hours of work to as well as his skill and some of the materials used.
Joe sketched out the design using a variety of inspirations such as online images, memorials in other places and photographs of New Zealand native birds.
"Blacksmithing is an art itself, but you also need that creative skill if you want to come up with your own designs, not just copy or follow plans by other people."
Joe's skills are in demand, as he is one of very few traditional blacksmiths around nowadays.
When he and his family owned an engineering business in Bell Block, specialising in iron products and forge work, they were commissioned for a restoration project on the ironwork at Tupare in New Plymouth.
The Mangorei Rd property was bought by Sir Russell and Lady Mary Matthews in 1931 and was originally designed by James Chapman-Taylor. Joe put in many hours of work restoring the ironwork on the gates at the entry to the popular homestead and gardens, which boast a six-star rating from the NZ Gardens Trust.
"That sort of work is really enjoyable, it's something which has already stood the test of time and bringing it back to its original beauty was a project I was proud to take on."
In the past, Joe has had his work on display at the Ellerslie Flower Show, with the exhibit it featured in winning a silver award that year.
For it, Joe designed a conch seashell inspired frame, which his daughter Toni then did the final assembly of while Joe himself was working on another piece for the same show. The second piece, a curving steel fence, featured in an exhibition which won a bronze award.
In his early 70s now, Joe is still hard at work at his forge most days.
From making chandeliers to intricate iron roses and detailed fantastical dragons, he forges unique items daily from his shed.
Demand has varied through the years, but Joe says he believes there is always a place for carefully crafted items from a forge.
"While people can buy all sorts of cheap imitation rubbish nowadays, there's no question it shows. Something which has been made by fire and skill, will last the test of time, and you know there is no other one like it. Every item has a slightly different twist, turn or detail somewhere in it."
Technically retired, but still hard at work as a master craftsman, Joe says he doesn't see himself stopping anytime soon.
"I spend hours out here each day. There is something magical really in creating something from a piece of iron, with just fire and your tools."