THIS VINTAGE TOWN TE AROHA
Nestled under the green, forested mountain of the same name is the town of Te Aroha, a town with genuine New Zealand heritage. I am biased but I happen to think that my adopted hometown is something of a hidden gem. Prior to Pakeha arrival, the natural mineral springs at the base of the mountain were used by Maori and there are several stories of how the mountain came to be named Te Aroha, te reo Maori for “love” or “the feeling of love”.
Small but perfectly formed, there are lots of places to visit in Te Aroha to step back in time.
A visit to the museum is an absolute must and entry is an easy-on-the-pocket $4 for adults and $2 for children. Located in the Cadman Bathhouse the museum has a wide range of Maori artefacts, as well as pieces reflecting the long history of the established town. There are rooms resembling the spa rooms of old, as well as farming and home industries. There is always a special exhibition running which in the past has included a collection of wedding dresses, militaria and restored craft treasures from the area. The museum is open 7 days a week. From the museum you can explore the Domain and the local walking tracks.
A collectables store specialising in vintage, retro and antique ware. This is a must-visit for collectors of Crown Lynn and record albums, as they usually have plenty to browse through. As well there’s vintage books, accessories, toys and lots more. The owners keep the stock in great condition and love seeing secondhand goods going off to a new home and life.
Located in a 1920’s bank building Banco offers coffee, food and vintage in one tasty package! The homemade food is delicious and the vintage goods on offer range from shoes, clothes (including designer clothing) and collectables to kitchenware and more. It’s also fun to pick out the old bank features in the building interior, including the original vault, and there’s a courtyard out the back for those warm summer days.
The Salvation Army Family Store, 213 Whittaker St
A ubiquitous sight in many small towns, Te Aroha’s Salvation Army Family store is welcoming and a great place to ferret out vintage treasures. They always have a wide range of clothes, shoes, bags, knick knacks and furniture, all at extremely reasonable prices.
An antique store along classic lines. Crowded with furniture, jewellery, furs, bags, knick knacks, household items, typewriters, tools and lots more besides. Prices are also more along classic antique store lines but there’s often a small bargain to pick up and it’s always fun to browse.
A treat for the eyes and the tastebuds! Te Aroha Organic Health Food Shop is located in an old miner’s cottage and the walls feature an array of vintage kitchen implements, advertisements and packaging. Browse the organic goodies on offer and enjoy a fantastic coffee. They also do wonderful food, all made on the premises, and with lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Walking around town is a delight for fans of vintage and historical architecture. From the Victorian and Edwardian domain and spa buildings to the early 20th century villas and cottages to the Art Deco style St Joseph’s Catholic Church, a stroll around the central part of the town will reveal all these and more.
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