Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

15 March 2010

Open 7 Days 21. Inangahua Junction One Stop Shop

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.

Main Road, Inangahua, Buller.
Proprietors: Pam and ‘Taff’ Tawhara
This is the youngest general store in my collection. The building was a garage for forty years until, in September 1989, it became the all-encompassing store it is today.

Hoia Apiha ‘Taff’ Tawhara comes from Coromandel and is of Ngati Porou (East Coast Maori) origins. He and Pam met when they were both in the NZ Army’s 1st Battalion, in which Taff served tours in Malaysia, Borneo, Vietnam and Singapore. In 1984 they bought the small Inangahua Store and Tearooms a bit farther down the road, but later acquired the garage, sold the old building and combined both businesses into the present ‘One Stop Shop’.

The first garage was built in 1920 by Tom Southon, but was rebuilt in 1950 following a destructive fire, then taken over by Tom’s daughter, Fay, and her husband, Johnny Stuart. It was then the district agency for Atlantic and Mobil products, and Johnny used to deliver fuel as far afield as Karamea and the Stockton mines up near Granity.

After Inangahua’s devastating earthquake in 1968, a lot of the old identities moved out. But Pam insists that the old values have remained; the community is close-knit and comfortable while staying aware of the outside world. ‘The kids here… seem more open, bright and cheerful. The adults are more “laid back”… having time to chat… and help each other in times of trouble. Perhaps a lesson for the world.’
For some inexplicable reason, Inangahua is visited by disproportionate numbers of German cyclists, who, professing not to read English, used to lean their bikes against the store’s pristine paintwork. Pam fixed them: she speaks German!



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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.