Paeroa's reputation growing beyond L&P

Next on 1News' Small Town series tour, Sam Kelway visits the Waikato town of Paeroa.

Paeroa - famous for that distinctive bubbly beverage and giant bottles, is the latest stop in 1News' series on small town New Zealand.

With a population of 5000 and climbing, people from the big smoke are settling roots with the aim to slow their lives down.

No longer just a soft drink icon, Paeroa is fizzing.

One store in town, Ajay's Ford V8 parts is akin to a motoring museum - it's the place you call for old V8 parts.

Kevin Williams, who works there, knows just where to get them.

"We've sent stuff back to America and it's the nature of what's happening in the world nowadays all these electric cars, they're trying to get rid of our beautiful old cars and the parts are starting to get harder to get," Williams said.

Like Kevin, Paeroa - in the Waikato - is a town on the move.

The shelves are chocka at Arkwrights Antiques, a shoppers paradise.

"It's really amazing the people that come through and they can be from the other side of the world and suddenly they're standing in your shop," owner Vivien Leonard said.

And even more, shops are starting to open as the effects of Covid-19 are less felt.

"We've only got 5000 people and we've got 11 antique shops in our block. We've got five new shops open after lockdown because we've had a few empty shops prior," Leonard said.

Along with the new shops, Aucklanders are moving in.

Rensha Boueer was a chef on Waiheke Island and a trip to Paeroa had her hooked on the place.

"It has been a crazy adventure. The decision came, it was unplanned it evolved naturally."

"I didn't think how my life would be affected by the environment, all I was focused on was creating this beautiful place. The wonderful thing about Paeroa is that it's only an hour away from everything."

Michael O'Donnell is a potter who's passionate about the environment.

"Acknowledging a symbolic relationship with what happens to that water out there happens to us and what happens to us and our waters is a reflection of what's going on out there," he said.

He travelled the world with his clay canisters to speak about the sacredness of water.

"Well I came here 50 years ago and I fell in love, fell in love with the ecologies here, the mountains, the waters here and the community personified small community in Aotearoa where you can get a bottle of drink, fish 'n' chips on your bicycle and come home," O'Donnell said.

This town - is not just a stop on a long journey, but a destination in itself.


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