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Phill Jones in the workshop

Tukituki Instruments was founded in February 2009 by me, Phill Jones.  Im a multi-instrumentalist, award-winning composer, and a keen woodworker.  Through my business, I love to fuse my two passions of playing music and crafting with timber to create high quality and musically infused wooden objects.  The Instruments that emerge from my workshop become tools for use in the wider world, whether in the hands of a professional musician, a student in school, or a practitioner of music therapy.  I use NZ native timbers such as Kauri, Rimu, Kahikatea, and Matai in combination with high quality imported woods, veneers and other parts.  When I need to use Plywood, I use European Birch as it is strong and structurally sound in addition to being very good acoustically.

‘Tukituki’ comes from the name of the river and the road on which my family’s farm was situated in 2009 and for three generations before that.  That is where I learned to work with timber, firstly with my grandfather, and later on my own while he watched on from the farmhouse.  The first cajón came out of his workshop, along with bamboo flutes, didgeridoos.  I carry the name Tukituki with pride, it reminds me of my roots, where I first played with timber, nails, and a hammer, and where my family comes from.

I travelled through Spain several times while living in Europe in 2007/08, and was intrigued by the deep south, Andalusia.  The dry heat, the mix of cultures over the centuries, and of course Flamenco culture with it's rhythmic and expressive music encompassing dancing, singing, clapping, and guitar, along with several modern variations incorporating percussion such as the cajón.  I wanted to be involved in any way I could.  It lead me back to an old passion of mine, instrument making.


Once I returned to New Zealand I decided to make it my mission to get into guitar making.  However, I started making a cajón as a quick project to get back into woodworking.  Once I started I realised it was more difficult than I had imagined!  I remember my childhood neighbour, Pat Ward, a renowned violin maker/repairer in Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay, and how he would spend so much time over small details in order to make instruments sing.  Nowadays it is that focus, experience and care that I strive for with my instrument making. I’ve established myself as a renowned cajonero and have developed my skills to build marimbas for schools around New Zealand, and my lutherie skills in the building of various harps and lyres for music therapists and sound healers, and I'm trying my hand at "necked" instruments such as Citterns, Bouzoukis, and other world folk instruments.

Since starting on this journey I’ve learned so much about myself and about turning my passion into a business.  Playing and building musical instruments has taken me around the world.  I have seen my instruments benefit many people's lives and bring joyful music to everyone who has taken one home.  I’ve seen professional musicians create stunningly skilful beats and songs on my instruments, kids jamming with their friends in school yards, and music therapists use them as musical tools to help their clients.

If you're interested in following my musical projects please head here:

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