Old news­pa­pers stashed be­hind im­ported mir­ror

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

MAR­JORIE COOK

Otago busi­ness­woman Penny Rogers was thrilled when she re­cently dis­cov­ered sev­eral old English news­pa­pers tucked be­hind the back of a mir­ror in her Wanaka fur­ni­ture store.

Rogers sources an­tique fur­ni­ture from auc­tion rooms in Eng­land and Europe and sells from Rus­ti­ca­tion, on An­der­son Road.

‘‘It was just a big white mir­ror, noth­ing fancy. You wouldn’t have known it was old at all. It was just a lucky find,’’ Rogers says of the faded copies of The Sport­ing Life (June 7, 1865), The Times (May 30, 1865), and, the more mod­ern The Daily Tele­graph (Fe­bru­ary 14, 1964).

Rogers and her cus­tomers have been hav­ing a gig­gle over the head­lines and ad­ver­tise­ments, with the 1865 news­pa­pers tar­get­ing peo­ple with mous­taches and liver com­plaints, or seek­ing a sea bathing ex­pe­ri­ence, a dog or gun.

Rogers con­tacted The Wanaka Mir­ror to share her dis­cov­er­ies af­ter she found out the Stuff-owned news­pa­per would be clos­ing on June 22.

The Wanaka Mir­ror is a sis­ter-pub­li­ca­tion to the Queens- town Mir­ror (founded 1987), which evolved into three weekly pub­li­ca­tions in Cen­tral Otago, Wanaka and Queenstown in 2014.

De­spite de­clin­ing cir­cu­la­tions, The Times, founded in 1785, and The Daily Tele­graph (founded 1855, now sim­ply The Tele­graph) have sur­vived the present cy­cle of me­dia in­dus­try dis­rup­tion and are still print­ing pa­pers.

The Sport­ing Life, founded in 1859, closed in 1998 and is now a web­site only.

Rogers said she was sad to hear the three Mir­rors were clos­ing af­ter just 31 years but felt en­cour­aged that other news­pa­pers were still avail­able in Wanaka.

‘‘I still love the ODT. Some­times I don’t have time to read it but I feel lost if I haven’t got the news­pa­per,’’ she said.

Rogers also reads The Up­per Clutha Mes­sen­ger and The Wanaka Sun, and is a fan of printed line ad­verts.

She posts on Face­book, usu­ally the Up­per Clutha Trad­ing Post page, be­cause it reaches peo­ple in nearby towns where the Mir­rors are not dis­trib­uted

‘‘But peo­ple want to read a thing they can hold, I think. If the Mir­ror is not here, that’s sad,’’ she said.

Rogers is orig­i­nally from Glouces­ter­shire, Eng­land.

She has an hon­ours de­gree in his­tory, mod­ern art, de­sign and film, went to a cook­ing school and a sec­re­tar­ial school and has even sold fonts to print­ing firms.

‘‘I ba­si­cally did ev­ery­thing to make money while trav­el­ling and I have not stopped,’’ she said.

Rogers de­cided to come to New Zealand while vis­it­ing Aus­tralia in 1984.

She’d met Wanaka’s fu­ture deputy mayor, Calum MacLeod, and his fu­ture wife, An­drea, at the Mt Buller ski re­sort near Mel­bourne

The MacLeods went on to New Zealand and founded Cin­ema Par­adiso, Rogers vis­ited and worked in Wanaka a few times and came back in 2008 with her chil­dren and dogs.

‘‘Wanaka is full of peo­ple like me, ex-ski staff who ended up here for good,’’ Rogers said.

MAR­JORIE COOK

Penny Rogers reads an 1865 news­pa­per.

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