You are currently viewing Witnessing antique town’s boom
Celebrating 30 years in business as well as her 70th birthday, Viv Leonard is thankful to all her customers at Arkwrights Antiques.

Witnessing antique town’s boom


When Viv Leonard opened up Arkwrights Antiques in Paeroa in 1992, there was only one other antique shop in town.
It was called Paeroa Antiques, and it was owned by Lois and Malcolm Craill.
“Pioneer House was the only second-hand shop in Hughenden St owned by the Van Lierops,” she told The Profile, “and Paeroa’s main street had three chemists, two shoe shops, two jewellers, a lingerie store, two menswears, two ladieswears, two bookshops, our own picture theatre, plus four pubs.”
However, Viv said that the establishment of big retailers such as The Warehouse caused most small, family-owned businesses in the town to close because they couldn’t compete with the “cheaper, imported prices”.
Instead, antique and second-hand stores filled the empty shops in Paeroa, and the ‘Antique Town of New Zealand’ rose from the ashes.
“It’s now become an iconic destination for collectors and vintage enthusiasts alike,” Viv said, “and its popularity is evident in the number of antique shops still succeeding in town.”
Arkwrights Antiques is a unique store with collectables and hidden treasures within it, including silver, metalware, jewellery, pottery, tools, china, crown lynn, pewter, glass, vintage clothing, kitchenware, art and more.
Celebrating 30 years in business as well as her 70th birthday, Viv wanted to thank all her customers and supporters who have rallied for Paeroa and have made the town what it has become today.
She said she loves her job as a “glorified recycler and antique dealer” and enjoys meeting new people.
“Everyone has a story,” she said, “but Covid has been a very enlightening time.”
Viv went to Wellington earlier this year as part of the convoy 2022 to protest against the Government’s Covid-19 mandates and to stand up for people’s freedom to choose.
She said while she faced discrimination for her actions, her supporters and passion for people kept her spirits high.
“We all had a choice, and now I choose to celebrate 30 years and my birthday,” she said. “I love Paeroa and the people in it.”