NZ Life & Leisure
Small town living is a privilege we'll never take for granted
It’s a privilege to live in small town New Zealand. Almost every day, I have a moment of strong realisation that New Zealanders live in paradise and while I am biased, I believe the benefits Millie and I receive from the lifestyle we enjoy in Greytown, South Wairarapa, are unique to this beautiful country we call home. Our sense of belonging is strong. Our appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds us increases every time we step (or ride) into our surrounding rural environment. Our township is a big whanau. We have our squabbles and we are a little too nosy sometimes, but there is a strong sense that, overriding it all, we feel like family and we have each other’s backs.
There’s no risk of getting bored in a small town like ours because, as it turns out, there is quite a lot to do! Greytown has transformed itself from a sleepy little service town to a vibrant destination with a fast-growing events calendar.
Our midwinter Festival of Christmas brought over 40,000 visitors during July and our future role in cycling tourism will escalate quickly with the installation of a dedicated cycle bridge connecting Greytown and Featherston. With the majestic Tararua Ranges protecting us from westerlies, we’re set to become famous for the variety of cycling experiences we offer our visitors exploring on two wheels. As a little taste of non-competitive cyclingbased fun, our Blackwell and Sons National Tweed Ride attracted over 100 riders in 2021 and looks set to grow into a major annual fixture.
Operating a business like Blackwell and Sons in a small tourism-based town comes with responsibilities. We’re automatically ambassadors, not only for our products and our brand, but for our township as well. I’m grateful that Shane, Young Adam (I am labelled Old Adam, so we can tell each other apart), Michelle and Trish use a natural part of their own personalities to treat all of our customers with respect and warmth. I couldn’t wish for a more perfect team … and we found each other in a small town of less than 3,000 people. To extend that one stage further, Shane and Young Adam recently created and opened a dedicated Blackwell and Sons workshop for bike repairs and services for our local customers. Total DIY, Greytown style.
While our hand-built British Pashley bicycles and our new Wisper electric bikes are suitable for a wide range of riders, we have found a certain specialisation in the cycling needs of retirees. We love the enthusiasm expressed by those who discover our low step-through cycles are easy to get on and safe to stop, and that we have the time to listen to what’s important to them. The Pashley Tri-1 adult e-Tricycles are perfect for those wanting to take their small pet with them or for a quick grocery top up trip. Our little service lane behind the workshop gets test riders right onto the safer, quieter streets of town so they can enjoy a road or trail test to make sure the bike they are trying out fits them like a glove. It’s rewarding to know we are helping mature kiwis get outside, stay fit and enjoy our natural environment with almost no negative carbon impact.
Millie and I are living a wonderful small town life that we created together and will never take for granted. We hope you get the chance to share some of the delights of Greytown soon. Maybe we’ll see you at the Tweed Ride in 2022!
Adam Blackwell, Proprietor