Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

09 March 2010

Open 7 Days 18. Te Horo 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.

Main Road, Te Horo, Horowhenua.
Proprietors: Alan and Ann Stead
The Te Horo Store is the reddest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s far redder than the ‘The Korner Shoppe’ in Reefton. It’s almost as if a secret ingredient had been stirred into Coca-Cola’s reddest-of-red paint especially for Te Horo. It glows like a red pepper at the peak of perfection.

Since 1988 the store has been the postal delivery centre for the area, and it also supplies dairy products, groceries, fruit and vegetables, newspapers, magazines and petrol.

It’s hard to imagine that Te Horo once boasted four stores, a dairy factory and a cheese factory. Like all the little settlements up the Horowhenua coast, it was much affected by the railway that ran like a life force between Wellington, Levin and points north. In 1990 the store probably seems more isolated than it really is; a quick stop on a long, straight, frightening piece of highway, where much of the traffic exceeds the speed limit.
Alan and Ann Stead have been at the store since 1977, having moved a few kilometres south from Levin. Alan estimates the Te Horo Store to date back to about 1910, and although the shop front has obviously been modified, the style of the modilions under the eaves at the side of the building, and the residential portion at the rear, would confirm that date.


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By Don Donovan