Treasure in every corner of Bay Antiques

By Amy Shanks

It's the window display which draws you in - a carefully arranged jumble of collectibles leading your eye through a narrow tunnel into its lamp-lit treasure trove.

I had noticed Bay Country Antiques a thousand times when driving along Waipawa's main street, but never took the time to stop.

That was until one sunny day this week, when I swung the car around and pulled up outside its intriguing shop frontage.

A large Crown Lynn swan and dainty yellow teacup set, glimpsed through the glass, were reward enough for a 30-minute drive from Hastings.

It's hard to settle in one spot for long before your gaze is pulled away by the glimmer of some other hidden gem.

The experience of looking, seeking, and most of all discovery is alive and well here. "I think Trade Me has had a big impact on antiques. It sort of takes the discovery factor away," store owner Mat Gregory says. "Years ago you might find an item and never see another one like it, now you can just go online and search for pretty much anything."

After completing a degree in art history and harbouring a love of old things, Mr Gregory opened his shop in Waipawa about 10 years ago.

"It's really eclectic. It's not too specialised in any one thing. I try to appeal to a wide variety," he says.

He's done exactly that. There is something tucked away in every nook and corner.

"People's taste here are more traditional, where as the young ones from, say, Wellington might like the retro stuff."

Aside from the high standard of antiques he chooses to sell, as a licensed trader, Mr Gregory also sought to maintain integrity.

"That's important to people and it's something I'm passionate about."

For him it was pieces with an interesting back story, that appealed most. "For example [this] painting is of early colonial New Zealand. Although it is signed, it's a bit of a mystery."


- Hawkes Bay Today

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