Country Life

Friday 31 October 2014, with Carol Stiles, Susan Murray, Cosmo Kentish-Barnes & Duncan Smith

Kakahi General Store

Manu Lala at the Kakahi General Store.

The Kakahi General Store  is one of the few of its kind still remaining in New Zealand, and has been owned by the  Lala family since 1937. 

The present owner Manu took over in 1956 and, just like his father before him, he's kept a huge array of goods from foodstuffs  to clothing, nails, fishing tackle and drapery.

He says back in the 1960's and 70's he sold guns over the counter and even installed lino for people who purchased it from his shop.  While those two items have now gone, he still sells just about everything else with the shelves stacked to bursting point.  "I have two museum shelves too. All the old things we used to sell. Ball room dancing powder. We put it on the floor and pulled each other around on sacks."

He admits he has probably got too much stock, "but it's tradition. I like to keep it going."

Manu says he's had a marvellous life in Kakahi, playing all sorts of sports, including representative hockey,  hunting and fishing, and he still has the best life style possible.

The store is the central meeting place for the 150 or so locals.  A neighbour, Michael James Walsh, says he grew up in the town, left after school to make some coin overseas before returning to buy the worst house in the best street. 

He now collects junk, carves native timber poles,  does tree pruning work and tells tales.

His grandparents  ran the local bakery, it was a warm place to gather in winter, as well as the storage den for alcohol  in the days when King Country was dry.

Mike Walsh, wood carver and junk collector.

Quarrying Limestone


Oamaru Limestone is hewn from the rolling green hills of North Otago.

The Parkside Quarry in Weston near Oamaru has been in operation since 1906. The quarry produces large quantities of agricultural lime and is the sole New Zealand supplier of Oamaru limestone building material.

Bob Wilson and Joseph Mitchell, who owned the adjoining farm land, took over the quarry in 1971 and Bob is still running the operation now. The quarry produces up to 7000 tonnes a year of cut limestone and Bob is pleased that some of it’s being used to rebuild earthquake damaged heritage buildings in Christchurch.

“We’re doing a lot of restoration work on some of the old buildings at the Arts Centre and Christ College. I was up at the Arts Centre last week and it’s nice to see stone masons at work”.

The limestone is also sought after by sculptors and every two years Bob hosts a symposium at the quarry that attracts artist from around the world.

Surplus stone from the cutting process is taken to the limeworks on the other side of the quarry where it is made into agricultural lime.

“There’s no waste at all coming out of here, it’s all crushed up for lime. We do about 60,000 tonnes a year and it’s one of the purest limes around”.



ecan wallabyWallabies are a major pest in South Canterbury and keeping them within the local containment area is an ongoing battle for Environment Canterbury's Southern Biosecurity team leader, Brent Glentworth.

Keith Cooper Silver Fern Farms

After 8 years as CEO Keith Cooper announced his retirement from the co op this week.

Regional Wrap

High winds across a lot of the North Island will be drying soils and making it less than pleasant outside at times. In the South Island feed levels are OK but most farmers would like to see a good rain.