It is many years since Kaitaia boasted a fleet of taxis. When Bob and Edith Dunmore bought Kaitaia Taxis in 1982 they operated it with three cars, but over the years that dwindled to one.

And now, with Mr Dunmore passing away after a long illness earlier this month, the business will officially wind up on January 31.

The family announced that decision last week, thanking their customers for their support over the last 35 years.

Mr Dunmore was born in Australia, arriving in Auckland at 21 to work at a freezing works. He was a butcher by trade, but the opportunity to buy the taxi business was not one to be missed.


"We holidayed up here, and we agreed that it was a good place to raise children," said Mrs Dunmore, who was born and bred in Kaitaia.

For her it was a return to the familiar. Her parents, Janie (nee Yates) and George Rogers both drove taxis for years, and as children she and her brothers spent a good deal of time in the little office opposite the Kaitaia Hotel.

It was a good spot, she said. Kaitaia's cinema, the Princess Theatre, where the Saturday serials were a big attraction, was just a couple of doors along the main street, and the taxi rank was right next door to the Silver Grid (now Birdie's Cafe).

Mrs Dunmore had very fond memories of growing up as the daughter of taxi drivers in the 1950s and early '60s, and of drivers including Fred Housham and Ivan Morton. And while that might have been the company's heyday, it was still capable of providing a good living in 2018.

The business had provided the means for raising four Dunmore children, three of whom attended boarding school, and while the family had decided not to sell it she was sure that someone would move to fill the gap.

"Someone will pick it up," she said.

"We got a good life out of it, but now that Bob has gone we feel that we've given enough. It's time to give someone else a go. It would make a good living for someone younger, a couple perhaps."

Mrs Dunmore drove taxis for about 20 years but is now working in real estate. Their son worked alongside his dad for a time too, enabling Mr Dunmore senior to cut his hours back a little, but the life of a taxi driver was a demanding one, and she wanted her son to have more of a life than it would allow.

Her husband had worked 24/7, she said. He would leave his tea to respond to a call, and except for one occasion, when he went to Australia for a son's wedding, refused to go on holiday.

"He didn't trust anyone to take over. 'You guys go,' he would say, and so we did, while he stayed here."