ABOUT US

ABOUT US

MORTIMER HIRST: OPTOMETRISTS + CONTACT LENS SPECIALISTS + DISPENSING OPTICIANS

Mortimer Hirst is proud of its reputation as the destination of choice for clients who want the very best in eyecare and eyewear. With a history spanning more than 70 years, Mortimer Hirst has been manufacturing and fitting contact lenses since the early 1940s. Our core competencies have remained the same since we were established in 1951; eyecare and eyewear.

Combining their individual expertise, a partnership between the late Douglas Mortimer and Eugene Hirst proved unique to the world of optometry. In 1943 Hirst accepted a challenge from an Auckland ophthalmologist to manufacture the first contact lenses in New Zealand for a keratoconic patient. Hirst was hugely successful in his task – taking an impression of the eye using dental material and moulding a lens over a stone cast. With no lathes available at the time, optics were fashioned by hand using small brass laps.

In partnership with optometrist Mortimer, Hirst started Hirst Contact Lens in 1943, followed by the optometric practice Mortimer Hirst in 1951. Mortimer taught opticians how to fit contact lenses, travelling across the world, lecturing and teaching contact lens design and practice. In 1967, Mortimer began manufacturing contact lenses and by 1970 the company had expanded into Australia, with a flagship branch in Adelaide. Several years later the Australian branch was sold to Hydron USA, followed by the sale of Hirst Contact Lens to New Zealand Optical in 1976, renamed as Hirstlens.

Mortimer Hirst’s heritage has been instrumental to the development, manufacturing and fitting of contact lenses in New Zealand, manufacturing both hard and soft contact lenses onsite, with the manufacturing laboratory occupying three floors of the High Street building until 1978.

Mortimer Hirst continues to offer an onsite contact lens laboratory, with the ability to modify, re-power and polish rigid gas permeable contact lenses, alongside an eyewear laboratory for repairs or replacement of prescription lenses and an extensive range of contact lenses in house.

The clinical team lead Mortimer Hirst’s specialised contact lens business, as well as expanding their own areas of expertise in areas of complex contact lens fitting and management, troubleshooting on referral, pre-market evaluations and clinical trials for leading manufacturers including Rose K. The team also continue to lecture nationally and internationally.

HERITAGE

The late Douglas (Doug) Mortimer and Eugene (Gene) Hirst formed the partnership and with their individual expertise, proved to be very unique in the world of optometry.

In 1943 Gene Hirst accepted, with great success, a challenge made by an Auckland ophthalmologist to manufacture the first contact lenses in New Zealand for a keratoconic patient. An impression of the eye was taken by using dental material and moulding a lens over a stone cast. There were no lathes available at the time so the optics were fashioned by hand using small brass laps.

In partnership with optometrist Doug Mortimer he started Hirst Contact Lens in 1943 and the optometric practice Mortimer Hirst in 1951. Gene taught many opticians how to fit contact lenses and travelled globally, lecturing and teaching contact lens design and practice. In 1967 he began manufacturing contact lenses, in 1970 the company expanded with a branch in Adelaide, Australia. The Australian company was sold a few years later to Hydron USA and in 1976 Hirst Contact Lens was sold to New Zealand Optical and renamed Hirstlens.

 

Hence Mortimer Hirst has been instrumental in the development, manufacturing and fitting of contact lenses in New Zealand, manufacturing both hard and soft contact lenses onsite, with the manufacturing laboratory occupying three floors of the High Street building until 1978.

Mortimer Hirst opened a branch practice in Mt Roskill in 1967 and subsequently sold it 10 years later. Dispensing optician Pat Martin was employed by Mortimer Hirst in 1973 and was joined by optometrist Victoria Elias in 1979. Victoria became a partner in the practice when Doug Mortimer retired in 1982. When Gene Hirst retired in 1985, Pat became business partners with Victoria.

In 1980 Mortimer Hirst opened a branch practice in St Heliers. Optometrist and Contact Lens Specialist Grant Watters joined the St Heliers branch practice in 1993 and purchased the practice in 1995; dispensing optician Naomi Bicheno joined the practice in 2001 and in 2004 became a partner. The practice was sold in 2007 whilst they expanded their individual areas of expertise.

Grant and Naomi purchased Mortimer Hirst 9 High Street in 2009; whilst both Pat and Victoria continued to work part time, easing into retirement. Pat retired in 2010 after 37 years and Victoria retired in 2011 after 32 years with the practice.

In 2010 they purchased St Heliers Bay Optical and in 2012 relocated the practice to its current premises, 3 St Heliers Bay Road, re-establishing the brand back in St Heliers.

In 2015 Mortimer Hirst purchased Davy & Associates in Takapuna, the previous owner Martyn Davy began his career working for Doug Mortimer and Gene Hirst in 1975.

 

Due to high demand for their areas of clinical expertise Mortimer Hirst purchased Paterson Burn Newmarket in 2019.

 

The select clinical team continue Mortimer Hirst’s specialised contact lens business as well as expanding their own areas of expertise in complex contact lens fitting and management, clinical troubleshooting on referral, pre-market evaluations and clinical trials for leading manufacturers including Rose K. They continue to lecture nationally and internationally.

Members of the clinical team continue to work with the Auckland University Department of Optometry and Ophthalmology and Auckland and Waikato hospital eye clinics.

 

Mortimer Hirst is currently the only practice in New Zealand chosen for a clinical research outreach programme for final year optometry students and for the recently established Clinical Master of Science in Optometry degree in contact lenses by DOVS.

Mortimer Hirst has gained a solid reputation for providing expert clinical care and advice and continues the tradition of being a leading independent practice in New Zealand specialising in clinical eye care, contact lenses and handpicked eyewear collections.

To this day Mortimer Hirst maintains an onsite contact lens laboratory, to modify, re-power and polish rigid gas permeable contact lenses, an eyewear laboratory for repairs or replacement of prescription lenses and an extensive in-house stock of contact lenses.

 

Mortimer Hirst continues to successfully blend world-class eye care with the very latest fashion eyewear.

Locations

9 High Street, Auckland CBD

3 St Heliers Bay Road, St Heliers

42-44 Hurstmere Road Takapuna 

2a Gillies Ave, Newmarket.

Contact

©2019 Mortimer Hirst.