Stonemason Pouwhakanao Kōhatu

Stonemasons work with stone to construct or renovate buildings, fittings, walls and paving, or to create monuments.

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Stonemasons may do some or all of the following:

  • talk to clients, design plans for stonework, and provide quotes
  • read and follow plans
  • split, cut and shape stone, and set in place using techniques such as dry-stone walling
  • mix, pour and lay concrete and cement
  • set stone panels onto building walls
  • lay and polish stone floor tiles
  • design, create and inscribe headstones and other memorials (monumental masonry).

Physical Requirements

Stonemasons need to have a good level of fitness. They also need to have a strong back and strong arms as they have to bend and lift heavy materials and equipment.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for stonemasons includes:

  • construction work
  • art and design experience.

Personal Qualities

Stonemasons need to be:

  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • practical and patient
  • safety-conscious
  • motivated and good at solving problems
  • artistic and able to visualise a finished product
  • good at basic maths.

Skills

Stonemasons need to have:

  • stone-cutting and building skills
  • skill in working with different types of stone
  • knowledge of how to use traditional hand tools and diamond-cutting tools
  • knowledge of stone-polishing techniques
  • knowledge of safe work practices, and general building practices
  • design skills.

Self-employed stonemasons must also have small business skills.

Conditions

Stonemasons:

  • usually work 40 hours a week, but may also need to work evenings and weekends
  • spend most of their time working outdoors at building or renovation sites
  • work in dusty and noisy conditions
  • may travel locally to clients and building sites.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a stonemason. However, NCEA Level 2 construction and mechanical technologies, maths, English and physical education are useful.

Year 11 and 12 learners can find out more about the construction industry, and gain relevant skills, by doing a National Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades (Level 1 and 2) through the BConstructive programme.

For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Stonemasons can earn around $21-$40 per hour.

Chances of getting a job as a Stonemason are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for stonemasons varies depending on experience and location. Pay is usually higher in regions with greater demand such as Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and the Central North Island.

  • Stonemason apprentices usually start on the training minimum wage.
  • Unqualified, inexperienced stonemasons working as labourers usually start on the minimum wage.
  • Experienced, qualified stonemasons usually earn between $25 and $40 an hour.

Self-employed stonemasons with specialist skills can earn more than $40 an hour, but their income depends on the success of their business.

Source: New Zealand Stone Masons Association, 2018.

Experienced stonemasons may progress to set up their own business, or move into related work such as landscaping. 

Years Of Training

2-3 years of training usually required.

There are no specific entry requirements to become a stonemason. However, a New Zealand Certificate in Stonemasonry (Level 4) may be useful. This is available as either:

  • an apprenticeship overseen by the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO)
  • a two-year full-time course through Otago Polytechnic.

The New Zealand Stone Masons Association can help you find stonemasons who take on and train apprentices.

Stonemason

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