Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 53, September 2009
(This article was published in the Hauraki Plains Gazette, June, 1929, to promote the first all-day and evening shopping on Saturday in Paeroa).
Paeroa is situated in the key position for the Hauraki Plains, a great part of the lower Thames Valley, and a portion of the Goldfields. It is the hub of a very extensive farming area and for these districts it is obviously the most accessible and natural shopping area.
There is no need to go further afield for all one's wants. In the town are, as one can see by reference to the advertisements in this supplement, shops that supply every necessity, and at prices that more than hold their own with other centres. Visitors coming to Paeroa for a Saturday afternoon and evening's shopping should make it a family affair.
Many people are so placed that household duties and care of the children deter them from venturing forth on an excursion of any nature whatsoever, the fear of what will happen to the children if left behind during the parents' absence being uppermost. But as far as shopping in Paeroa is concerned, this dilemma may safely be brushed aside, for in the town are many things to keep the youngsters out of mischief.
In the afternoon there is the large beautiful domain for the children to run wild to their hearts content in perfect safety; there is Primrose Hill, another place of beauty and green freshness; and there are two children's play grounds replete with swings, etc at either end of the town.
There are plenty of places where tired mothers or other women shoppers can sit in quiet content and partake of a refreshing cup of tea. Then again, there are cosy resting places where the womenfolk can relax, should they wish to purchase anything or not.
Should the paterfamilias so desire, there are stirring football and hockey matches for him to watch during the afternoon, the while his "better-half" does some purely feminine or household shopping. Should mere man want, he can buy anything he needs from his personnel affects to farm implements and appurtenances.
A public library with modern books, magazines, and periodicals invites visitors to take their ease, and a warm, splendidly furnished theatre awaits the finish of a pleasant day.
Not only are the shopkeepers, professional and business men of Paeroa specially inviting visitors for the opening Saturday long day, but for every day. They naturally know the needs of those living in the surrounding country more intimately than do merchants further afield, are out to cater for their neighbours. Knowing what the population wants, Paeroa shopkeepers have it, and can supply at prices defying competition.
Paeroa's shops are so attractive that one is always tempted to buy; but one is not. The merchants by their civility, business-like aptitude, and the goods they are offering invite patronage. Coming to them in Paeroa is not like going to a strange town. A visitor here is welcomed. Made to feel at home, and catered for in every way. "Welcome" is the message sent out to both neighbours and those living a distance, and a truly warm, whole-hearted welcome they will find here.
Paeroa once visited shoppers will find by actual experience that it is the place to make their centre, and they will develop the habit of coming in regularly to do their business.
Paeroa's present prosperity is in no small measure due to the restoration of hotel licences in 1925. While the town was closed it suffered a period of lean years, so adverse when another vote was taken on the question, the people, realising what it meant to trade, polled a majority for restoration. Since that eventful day the town has not looked back, and today it stands one of the soundest boroughs in the Dominion.
There has been not rapid mushroom growth about the place—advancement and expansion has been gradual and solid. Of the new buildings constructed the greater number are not of the wooden type so typical of country towns in New Zealand, but of concrete and brick, exemplifying for all time the builders' faith in the town.
The borough roads are known and commented upon freely throughout the Dominion for their excellence. The flat ground whereon the town is built has been conducive to good civic planning, but at the same time hills within a few minutes' walk relieve the monotony of the flat country.
Besides the peculiar advantage Paeroa has as a shopping centre, railways, roads and rivers radiate from it, making transport of both passengers and goods rapid and easy. With the realisation of the Paeroa-Pokeno rail system Paeroa, already a junction of importance will become a large railway centre.
Mining, once to flourishing in the vicinity, appears about to take a new lease of life, for great things are expected of the Ohinemuri Mines, but a few miles away. Future developments of a most assuring kind are apparently in progress and success up to date with the concern. Flax, of which there are hundreds of acres in the vicinity, bids fair to increase Paeroa's population and prosperity, for with the proposed commercial manufacture of rope, etc., at Awaiti many people will be employed and more money circulated in the district.
With all these advantages in its favour, can it be wondered at that the town has been aptly called the "shopping centre of Thames Valley"? The population is large enough in the district now to warrant the first-class, absolutely modern shops and commercial concerns of the town. With a new railway line, the mining, flax, etc., the population will increase to a great extent.
Paeroa merchants know this, and they are prepared for it—prepared by making their premises, stock, etc., everything that could be desired of them. Without a peer Paeroa stands in a key position; all roads lead to Paeroa, and it is prepared to fulfil the needs of the customer.
So without hesitation Paeroa extends an invitation to everyone, secure in the knowledge that the town can give satisfaction to the visitor—prospective purchaser, amusement-seeker or hurrying tourist.