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.

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About -

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: rexine.hawes@fair­fax­me­ 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.

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