Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

24 February 2010

Open 7 Days 12. Pukehou Store

I wrote and illustrated ‘Open 7 Days’. It was published in 1991. It’s a series of freeze-frames of some historic New Zealand general and convenience stores as they were preserved in the last decade of the 20th century. Bit by bit, on this blog, I re-publish some of the entries from that book.

State Highway 2, Pukehou, Central Hawke’s Bay.
Proprietors: Anne Miller and Noel Brinson

Between the Raukawa Range and the Tukituki River, Pukehou sits in a gentle valley running north-west from Waipawa to connect with Hastings. It’s a bountiful valley of sheep farmlands, roadside fruit and vegetable stalls and birdlife; particularly the pukekos who inhabit the remnants of once extensive swamplands.

The district is famous for the Anglican Maori boys’ Te Aute College, a short step up the road from the Pukehou store. The store shares with the college a connexion to Archdeacon Samuel Williams, who founded the school in 1850, and the land upon which Pukehou village and the store stand was his gift.
An older store, at Te Aute, closed down in 1982 with the reputation of being the oldest business in New Zealand with a continuous trade from a wooden building.

The Pukehou General Store was built in the early 1920s for Andrew and Christina Priest, immigrants from the Shetland Isles, by their son, Harry, a carpenter. The store flourished in the decade after the late 1940s in the ownership of Neil Forsyth and his wife, who supplied the farming district as comprehensively as any stock and station agent and grocery supermarket combined. They also had a bread and grocery delivery round, ran two school buses, and a taxi service with cars available any hour of the day or night.
A Napier woman by birth, Anne Miller, who was a nurse for some years, bought the store in 1980 and she and her son, Noel, are now partners in its ownership.

‘Mrs Anne’, as the local children call her, still does a six-day paper run as well as the daily postal service.

Adaptation to modern times is the key to survival, and Anne intends, while maintaining the base of grocery, petrol and postal services, to add to her tearooms by providing fast foods and light meals for the passing motorists on this busy tourist route.



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By Don Donovan

About Me

My photo

Don Donovan: Biography

I was born on 20 January 1933, nine days before Hitler came to power in Germany, I grew up in south London. Although evacuated during the phoney war and the quieter times I lived in and out of air raid shelters during the blitz and experienced both V1 and V2 attacks on London. Left grammar school in 1948 aged 15 substantially undereducated. I wanted to go to art school but because of family ‘poverty’ joined a commercial art studio in the West End. I was, thereafter, variously a messenger boy, commercial artist and typographer. I was in the Royal Air Force from 1951 to 1953 when the only useful thing I did was to take part in King George VI’s funeral parade.

In 1955 I married Patricia O’Donnell, a RADA graduate, at that time playing opposite Derek Nimmo, they were juvenile leads in a touring repertory company. He went on to great success because he had a funny voice.

We came to New Zealand in 1960 where I worked in advertising. At length I became managing director of one of the companies of whose holding company (the largest domestic advertising complex in New Zealand) I was also a proprietor and shareholder. I left the industry in 1990 when my company was bought out by American interests. My timing was brilliant, at that point my first book had been published and the next was on its way.

We have two daughters and four grand-children.

Now, apart from writing, I function as a self-educated grumpy old man.

Books & Writings

‘New Zealand Odyssey’, with Euan Sarginson, Heinemann-Reed, 1989.

‘One Man’s Heart Attack’, New House, 1990. (A special edition of this book was purchased by CIBA-Geigy for distribution to NZ doctors).

‘Open 7 Days’, Random Century, October 1991.

‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’ by Saint Publishing in 1995 followed by:
‘New Zealand House & Cottage’ in 1997. (Saint Publishing have also published calendars for the years 1994 to 2004 using my watercolour illustrations).

‘The Wastings’, my first novel was published in July 1999 by Hazard Press. Although an international subject it had very limited distribution, only in New Zealand, and the rights have reverted to me. (Colin Dexter read 'The Wastings' and wrote to me: 'I enjoyed and admired "The Wastings"... a beautifully written work... a splendid debut in crime fiction... More please!'.)

Also the texts of photographic books:
‘Colourful New Zealand’
‘New Zealand in Colour’
‘Top of the South’
‘Above Auckland’
‘Hauraki Gulf Destinations’
‘Bay of Plenty’
and a compilation of photographs and quotations titled ‘Anzac Memories’ 2004 all published by New Holland.

My written and illustrated book, ‘Country Churches of New Zealand’ was published in October 2002 by New Holland, who also published ‘Rural New Zealand’ 2004 (photographs and text), and a series of four humorous books of photographs and quotations in 2004 and 2005 titled ‘Woolly Wisdom’, ‘Chewing the Cud’, ‘Fowl Play’, and ‘Pig Tales’. My most recent book was published in August 2006 by New Holland, titled ‘Political Animals’.

Over the years I have written for NZ Herald, Heritage Magazine, Next Magazine and various local and overseas travel and general interest media.