Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

20 March 2010

Open 7 Days 24. Korner Shoppe Reefton

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.

169 Buller Road, Reefton, West Coast.
Proprietors: Trevor and Cathy Brewerton
I first saw this store in November 1987 on the day that two sign writers were painting it red. I had the impression that if someone didn’t stop them they’d paint the whole town red! It wouldn’t have been the first time; the toughest gold miners in the world have been through Reefton!

Just before the Brewertons took over the store in September 1989, the previous owners won a bit back from Coca-Cola by adding two remarkable murals, one depicting a red-shirted miner resting on his spade, and the other the pioneer goldfields landscape all set about with flying ingots.

It’s a large, rambling building that has been extended over the years, but the shop itself is quite small. The range of goods for sale includes frozen and chilled foods, milk, bread, soft drinks and dry groceries, augmented at the weekends with fresh fruit and vegetables. A large range of videotapes is available for hire.

This surprisingly old building was established as a butcher’s shop in 1870 by John Charles Heslop. It later traded as ‘The City Butchery’ and continued thus with various owners until it closed down in the Depression. The owner at that time was a Thomas Lamberton, and he continued to live here with his mother, who ran a maternity home then later turned to making confectionery on the premises; jelly babies perhaps?

Old trolley from a Reefton gold mine 

A photograph of the store taken in 1948 shows it much smaller, trading as a milk bar (all the rage in those days) and book club, but by 1960 it had been extended, and was trading as a general store.


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By Don Donovan