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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Thomas Gilchrist and Sons Limited of the Māniototo by Paula Wagemaker, Judy Beck and John Hellier

This is the story of New Zealand’s longest operating general store, and what an enjoyable read this is stepping back in time!

Meticulously researched and lovingly written, this impressive book combines the best of photographs, text and design to bring the history of this iconic store to life.

Established in 1902, this general store in Central Otago has sold everything from groceries to clothing to household and gardening items, serving the community in the area. The Māniototo is a remote part of Aotearoa, a beautiful spot with clear night skies packed with stars, but also a place of extreme weather temperatures. This book holds a story not just of the history throughout the decades but also the story of the family who ran it for so long. It also features the community who rounded together to keep the store going after the family decided to leave retailing in the 1980s and the people who have run the store since.

The store has seen many social, economic and political changes over the decades, with the store adapting and remaining useful to its community throughout, at one point adding a rural delivery postal system to the store’s functions.

Central Otago is my special place in New Zealand, and I have visited the Gilchrist Store many times through the years. This book is a treasure and will be of great interest to anyone who has visited the region. The information and photographs presented are excellent.

Reviewer: Iain McKenzie

Quentin Wilson Publishing


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