Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

21 February 2010

Open 7 Days 9. Parawera 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.

Arapuni Road, Parawera, Waikato.
Proprietor: Margaret Glass

The Waikato, well watered and lush-pastured, has some of New Zealand’s most productive dairying land, and Parawera sits in the middle of it. Margaret Glass was born of a farming family, and she and her husband, Ken, had a dairy farm before taking over the Parawera Store in 1977. At the back of the store Ken and their son, Steven, opened up a workshop, which she says, ‘keeps them busy’.

It came as a pleasant surprise to find that, although a little chipped and faded, the name of the store has been particularly well sign-written. (Talking of sign-writing, I liked the AA finger posts across the road - a lexicon of Maori place-names!)
Madiv Chunilal, the first owner, had established a previous store in 1937, built on land leased from Umu McLean snr., by Joe Moses. Madiv, nicknamed ‘Chuni’, then returned to India for a spell, but when he came back he bought land from the Kenemata family and in 1954 built today’s Parawera Store.

‘Chuni’ also ran the school bus and taxi service. He had a frustrating habit of leaving a note on the shop door when he had a taxi fare - ‘Back in 1/2 hour’. The trouble was, nobody knew when the half-hour had started, so residents would either sit and wait or go home and telephone until ‘Chuni’ answered. Sadly, he was killed in his taxi south of Otorohanga in 1962.

The Glasses serve the Parawera community with general groceries, newspapers, dairy products, petrol and - busy round the back - workshop facilities.


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By Don Donovan