Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

06 May 2010

Open 7 Days 35. Cave Store, South Canterbury

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.

53 Elizabeth Street, Cave, South Canterbury.
Proprietors: Kevin and Margaret O’Neill.

‘I don’t know why they call it Cave. There isn’t a cave round here’. The guide book agrees with Kevin O’Neill, but with the proviso that there could have been a limestone cave that was destroyed by quarrying.

The Cave Store stands out from its surroundings like a buttercup in a summer meadow. In doing so, it contrasts brashly with the genteel mellowness of All Saints Church, opposite, built of soft-toned riverbed stones and surrounded by ornamental trees.
There is nothing historic or outstanding about the store; its appeal, for me, lies simply in its colour and its reassuring air of reliability.

It started life as the private home of one of the first owners of the original store, which was completely destroyed by fire.

Kevin and Margaret O’Neill, both from farming backgrounds, moved in in 1986. They continue to sell general groceries, petrol, bread, milk and farm supplies as well as operating the postal centre and doing the rural mail run around the district.


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By Don Donovan