Buy local



NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group


Some say readers don't choose books — it's books that select readers. This happens more readily on shelves thoughtfully organized by independent booksellers who value serendipity over bald commerce. There are two such bookshops in Mackenzie Country At the Twizel Bookshop, size is everything. When one is the owner of what surely must be the wee-est bookshop in the nation — at just under 12m² — there's no room for literary duds. Owner Renee Rowland (pictured top right) likes it that way: it forces a selective and idiosyncratic eye and allows her to be resolutely indie. Still, she's managed to pack thousands of titles into that trifling square metreage. Renee opened the store in 2017 after escaping a corporate career. These days, her mission statement is as far from corporate as you could get: “Books throw our gaze on places we've never been. If reading a book is an experience, then the value of that experience lies in the depth of feeling. We, in our little shop, want you to feel something. Feel angry. Feel offended. Feel disappointed. Feel surprised. Feel thrilled. Feel solidarity. Feel sadness. Feel wonder. Feel. Read.” 25 Marketplace, Twizel. 027 464 5062, There's always room for a thermos of hot water, some cups, and tea and coffee supplies on the main display table at Petronella’s Gallery & Bookstore in Tekapo. The shop's owner, Wilma (Wilhelmina Petronella Maria) van den Bosch (pictured right), stations them there each day “for shoppers to take a breather and make themselves a cuppa”. That tells visitors all they need to know about the warm hospitality in this literary sanctuary. Originally from the Netherlands, Wilma arrived in Lake Tekapo in 1992 with a master's degree in Dutch literature and a background in bookselling. She knows that once all that alpine air has cleared a traveler's head, a book they will need: “Although Lake Tekapo is about enjoying adventure, the outdoor activities, stargazing and R&R in general, the bookstore serves the cultural and spiritual human needs.” Shop 8, Rapuwai Lane, Lake Tekapo. 021 154 1014, Just when the eyes have become accustomed to the wide empty expanses of Mackenzie tussock, up pops an eclectic cluster of quirky shops that paint a vivid portrait of local boy, Dave Taylor. There's a congregation of classic cars and old farm machinery, a 1950s service station, a blacksmith shop and a store. Dave's main weakness is “garagenalia” (think vintage petrol signs, oil cans, motorbike signs and petrol pumps — most of which he sources from the United States). If, perhaps, a vintage jukebox or record player is preferred, Dave has that covered, too. He's been collecting “anything old” since, well, forever. “I had a wee museum when I was a kid. I was only about 10. We had an old shed out the back, and I turned it into my museum. People used to give me stuff after that.” This was at the family home in Fairlie. These days, the Dave Taylor collecting habit plays out 10 minutes down the road at Burke's Pass. When asked if his house is bulging with items he can't bear to put on sale, one can hear the secret hoarding in his laconic reply: “A few things, yes.” 2119 Fairlie-Tekapo Road, SH8, Burke's Pass. (03) 685 8544,