Raglan car owners are getting a taste of the nationwide shortage of warranting mechanics, with the closure of Bow Street Motors leaving just one qualified mechanic in town able to complete the vehicle inspections.

Direct Tech’s Joel Connor, is currently the only qualified mechanic in Raglan able to do warrants of fitness (WOF), offering the service for the first time this week.

Joel said he has “tons of people” waiting to book in for WOFs, so he hopes to find someone to help him soon.
Bow Street Motors closed at the end of last month and its site at 20 Bow Street has been sold to an undisclosed buyer.

Raglan Service Station’s sole operator, John Hart, is on holiday until the end of October and Raglan Engineering has lost its part-time WOF-accredited mechanic, former Bow Street Motors mechanic Ben Hill, this week.

“By coincidence Bow Street [Motors] closed and John Hart was away, so for a while there you couldn’t get a warrant done,” said Raglan Engineering owner Peter Williams.

Peter said New Zealand had a real shortage of qualified mechanics with the WOF accreditation. He had been “desperately looking” for such a person since January, spending a fortune on advertising.

“So Raglan finds itself in a situation which is really quite peculiar,” he said. “There were at least three places that could do WOFs for many, many years.”

He has finally been able to secure a mechanic from South Africa for warrants at Raglan Engineering, but it would be at least three months until he was ready to do WOFs, once his qualifications had met New Zealand requirements.

“People are desperate for warrants. I’m just really disappointed that I can’t do anything [about it],” Peter said.
Neither Peter nor Joel know the fate of the Bow Street Motors site under its new owners.

Peter, who was the last apprentice to be trained there in the 1970s, said Ben had accepted a job in Hamilton and another former Bow Street Motors mechanic, Andy, was “out of action” for at least four months after having a knee operation.
Former Bow Street Motors owner Gordon Radford could not be contacted for comment.

Ray White Raglan real estate agent Dave Hanna said the purchase of the Bow Street Motors property had not been settled yet and the potential owners are currently “keeping plans close to their chest” regarding the site.

Rachel Benn