Martinborough's General Store

PHOTO: Pain & Kershaw has been through wars, recessions, and everything else you can imagine

In 1872, the Kershaw family established their general store in the South Wairarapa town of Martinborough, a time devoid of modern conveniences like electricity, automobiles, and antibiotics. Fast forward 150 years, and Pain and Kershaw remains under the same family’s stewardship.

The journey began when David Kershaw entered the store at the request of his father, Harry, intending to help for a mere six months. Little did he know that four decades later, he would retire from the same establishment.

David’s son, Conor, started his journey as an eight-year-old, packing vegetables in the store. He fondly recalls being the sole employee permitted a break for “smoko” before commencing work – a tradition from his school days, where he would finish school, enjoy a cup of tea, and then start his duties.

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Over the years, the store transitioned from a quintessential small-town emporium stocking a wide array of goods to a more refined establishment. Marie, who has been part of the store’s fabric since the 1950s, reminisces about the days when they offered haberdashery, shoes, linoleum, curtains, and even stockings. Notably, the store once retailed firearms and even explosive gelignite, a distinction they held until government regulations in 2000 brought such trade to a halt.

Marie reflects on her enduring love for working at the store, describing it as a close-knit family.

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Enduring for a century and a half, Pain and Kershaw has weathered wars, economic recessions, and numerous other challenges, standing resolutely as a pillar of provincial New Zealand.