Matamata was a one-day a week town
Rexine Hawes turns back the pages of the to a story on Matamata’s ‘senior businessman’ for our Back In The Day series.
In 1981, Matamata was described as a one-day a week town.
‘‘That was Wednesday sale day,’’ said Maynard Miles. ‘‘Everyone piled into the car and mumand the kids would spend the day in town while dad went to the sale.’’
The Matamata District Chronicle interviewed Miles in February 1981, after his decision to retire from business after 48 years.
Miles was described in the article as ‘‘Matamata’s senior businessman’’. He and Arthur Fielder sold the soft furnishings business Miles and Fielder after 20 years in business together. Miles retired while Fielder remained on in the employment of the new owner Brian Blake.
The article stated Miles arrived in Matamata in 1933, and prior to a career in soft furnishings was a school teacher and then ran a bakery started by his mother. After selling the bakery he bought a farm in Waharoa.
He said one of the biggest changes he noticed over the years was the family spending pattern. The first contact with the Matamata ladies was made as a baker on Wednesday sale day, the traditional shopping day for the farming community.
‘‘Money was very tight and the housewives relied on bobby calf Howdo you think Matamata business and shopping habits have changed over the years? Please share your thoughts. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org money and the sale of eggs and butter for their perks.’’
Maynard said he mourned the loss of ‘‘family business’’ which were taken over or forced out by, in many cases, chain stores.
He had definite views about Saturday trading, saying ‘‘forty hours a week is long enough for anyone to shop’’ and that longer hours and accompanying overheads will force a great burden on the small retailer struggling to survive.
Maynard thought ‘‘Matamata was a solid town where business dealings have always been a pleasure’’.
‘‘I have watched Matamata grow and prosper and feel that the business community has benefited from a farming background that has created solidarity, hard to beat anywhere in New Zealand.’’
A clipping from 1981 showing a story on retiring businessman Maynard Miles.