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P&K: Committed to Martinborough for 150 years

October 13, 2023 October 2023 Comments Off on P&K: Committed to Martinborough for 150 years

Commitment. Service. Resilience.

These are three of the principles which guide father David Kershaw and son Conor Kershaw as the family business celebrates a rare milestone in New Zealand _ 150 years as a registered company serving the same district. 

Patriarch David had a hint of pride in his voice as he confirmed the company’s original registration number of 1439, granted by the government. It is one of a small and select group of commercial operations founded then which still operate in 2023. 

The “general store” of the day opened its doors just three years after Pakeha settlement began in the district as the township of Wharekaka _ close to the Maori settlement of Waihenga.

It wasn’t until 1879 that local runholder John Martin bought up neighbouring land and named the new township Martinborough. 

Original owner George “Tiny” Pain opened the store in 1873, then shifted from Wharekaka to Martinborough township where later additional buildings alongside the store were used for a butchery, saddlery, hairdresser, pharmacy, a pool room and Arcade.

The Kershaw family became part of the business in 1898 and it has been physically operating on the land now occupied since the store’s “new” construction in 1905.

“It took 100 years to buy them (the other buildings on the block) all back,” David explained, so the just-completed shops and cafe had the land needed for the expansion and storage facilities project which has taken more than two years of effort. 

David Kershaw, son of Harry (in turn the son of John) was asked by his father to help “for six months” with the shop’s centennial in 1973. He remained there until retirement in 2013, 40 years later. … Continue Reading

P&K Milestones from 150 years

October 13, 2023 October 2023 Comments Off on P&K Milestones from 150 years

1872 – 73

In the beginning …

In 1872, George ‘Tiny’ Pain, the entrepreneurial travelling salesman son of settler parents, reached agreement with Wellington merchants Frederick Krull and W. Whitten, to supply him with goods for resale. After a short time trading, he was able to open a store at Wharekākā in the vicinity of what is now Martinborough Transport. It was moved to the new town of Martinborough in 1873.


Thomas Haycock became a partner and Pain & Haycock was formed.


In 1889 George Pain sold his business to John Gallie, but remained the landlord. Gallie relocated to Martinborough in 1887 and became the postmaster at Martinborough, before taking over the general store from Pain. Within two years, Pain bought the business back.


John Kershaw joined the business as a one-third  partner in 1899. Two years later Pain changed his business focus to farming, allowing Kershaw to take over running the store as managing partner. Pain remained a silent partner in the business, alongside Kershaw and Thomas Haycock, a partner since 1881. 


Thomas Haycock sold his shares to John Kershaw to concentrate on his  farming interests at  Whakatomotomo and Homeburn. 


John Kershaw increased his holding and the business became Pain & Kershaw. Plans were developed for a new and substantially larger store, with the tender for construction awarded to Mr H. Trotman of Greytown at an estimated cost of £3,500. During construction the original timber building, which adjoined the new construction, was destroyed by fire _ causing an estimated £300 damage to the new premises. … Continue Reading

70-plus years – from horse and cart to sidecar

October 13, 2023 October 2023 Comments Off on 70-plus years – from horse and cart to sidecar

By David Kershaw (Occasional Columnist)

People have been very complimentary about the new P & K Supermarket and retaining some of the old brickwork to enhance the interior and to keep a link with the old building.

The old brick entrance from the carpark has received most of the comment. It is interesting that this wall has been reborn from being the back end of the old shop, to become the main entrance and it has many stories to tell.

Its main function over time has been the main Inwards Goods receiving area, but the original use was as the loading out bay. This is where the P&K horse-and-cart teams were loaded for local deliveries and unloaded from the daily Featherston Railway Station trip to collect shop stock.

The horse and cart teams came into the loading area from the stables and holding paddock which were situated on Naples Street, behind the shop. Considine Park was the main grazing area for the horses. There was also a barn and stables there.

Once in the loading bay the horses had to be held in position for loading. There were long wooden spars that fitted into the walls of the building. These spars were placed behind and in front of the horses to keep the carts stable for easy loading.

The main brick wall in the entrance reveals the old spar holes [missing bricks] which the spars were fitted into _ although they are now filled with grey concrete for new building standards [a pity].

Once the carts were loaded, they pulled out onto the square and went off on their journeys.

According to some old company accounts I have viewed there were up to sixteen horses and three carts owned by P&K. I believe the horses were all Clydesdales or part Clydesdale. … Continue Reading

George Pain the silent partner

October 13, 2023 October 2023 Comments Off on George Pain the silent partner

A three-day trek from Wellington in 1865 saw then 19-year-old George Pain arrive in the Wairarapa,  where he found work as a shepherd _ with no experience, but in short order he proved himself capable of handling dogs and sheep.

Pain’s entrepreneurial talents quickly emerged and within months he was hawking clothes from horseback to station workers around the south coast of Wairarapa.

By 1872 he had built a small store at Wharekaka and was doing regular 2-monthly sales trips round the coast while his new wife ran the store.

Within a year, after Martinborough was founded, George Pain had moved his store to the town, continued his hawking trips and invested in both town and farm land. The town land included the section on the corner of The Square and Jellicoe Street where the stores remain.  

Among farms he bought – and sold – were Admiral Station, Te Mai, Clifton Grove, Tully’s Long Bush, Palliser Bay Station and Pain Estate, the latter gifted to the town by his second wife Mary when she died.

As one historical collation on Pain notes: “This seams (sic) to have been the way for George Pain (“Tiny” as he was known as) of making money and then investing into land to farm.’ 

Prior to Kershaw family involvement in 1899, Pain had partners John Gallie and Thomas Haycock. 

At one stage he sold the venture to Gallie, but two years later bought it back as he was unhappy over Gallie’s refusal to buy the freehold.

When Gallie stalled, Pain warned he would set up a rival store, a proposal Gallie “did not consider a very honourable thing to do.” Eventually Haycock joined the investment. 

By 1900 Pain had gone farming, leaving Haycock and new partner John Kershaw to run the business. When he finally sold the land and buildings, he included a condition that his name remain on the title.

Pain also had a determined streak. 

After he received what is called “some very shoddy trreatment (from the Proprietor) at the Martinborough Club Hotel” and was evicted, Pain warned the man hadn’t seen the last of him. “Two days later he was back in the hotel as the new owner with a new proprietor.”



Eight medal haul for local wrestlers

The wrestling season came to a competitive end with the National Championships held in Tauranga in early October. The Featherston Club team of Duncan Allen-Alloway, Nate George, Wairangi Sargent, Tommy Read & Angus Read came home with four gold and four silvers, an excellent result as the wrestlers competed in …

Marty Rugby Club winners and grinners

The club doesn’t forget to say a Big Thanks to all its sponsors and supporters of the 2023 season. We look forward to seeing you all in 2024. Premiers – winners Lane Penn Cup & Hodder Steffert Cups Reserves – finalists Presidents Cup Congratulations to all the recipients of our …

Featherston wrestlers continue winning

The penultimate tournament of the year the Wellington Regional Championships were held at Kapiti College on Saturday 9 September.  A strong team from Featherston attended with some of our junior wrestlers building towards this tournament through two terms of training. It also signalled the end of the junior and intermediate …

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