Book store

Local Focus: New owner for a popular bookstore

Way of life

Patrick’s bookstore changes hands. Produced with funding from NZ On Air.

“Beware of looking for goals, look for a lifestyle, decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to earn a living IN the lifestyle.”

This quote from Hunter S. Thompson is a word to live by for the new owner of Patrick’s Bookshop in Whanganui. Daniel West has always loved books, and now it has become his job.

“I remember when I lived here 20 years ago,” he said. “On my lunch breaks I used to go all the way to Guyton St, there was a secondhand bookshop there and that’s what I did on my lunch breaks.”

Returning to his hometown and dividing his time between the kids, a big lifestyle block, and the bookstore is a far cry from West’s previous two decades of television work. But with decent internet and remote working now the norm, that means he can enjoy the best of both worlds.

“The job I left at the ABC knocked asking me to work remotely from here, for them there. I thought I’d walked away from all of this, and I thought ‘no, that goes “.

“Then I had a chance conversation with Patrick about buying this place, so it goes really well.

“I can fit into an office here and I work different hours there and so I have the best of both worlds, so I’m really starting to live the dream.”

Patrick McKenna says he will miss the daily conversations in the shop but will continue to pursue his passion for finding rare books. He says New Zealand is a surprisingly good hunting ground for collectible books.

“When these American publishers launched these books, they often sent them to the colonies to try them out,” McKenna said.

The library’s vast collection of books has been built up over more than five decades.

“I started in books in 69 or 70, ended up working for Oxford University Press in Wellington. I was hired as a books representative for schools because Oxford was the educational publishers. I so went around the whole South Island and half the North Island three times a year so I lived in my car pretty much.

“I did book exhibitions in schools and showed them new publications and focused on selling the best Oxford publications, which are damn good stuff.”

The bookstore will remain in the same premises but there will be a name change to Book Hunters.

In addition to book hunting, McKenna will moonlight as an auctioneer at Heritage Art. A framed, unpublished poem by James K. Baxter is one of many items offered at the first auction – Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Heritage House in Whanganui.

Produced with funding from