Video may have killed the radio star - but the internet is killing video shops.

Kerikeri's United Video is shutting its doors at the end of this month and co-owner Catherine Deas is sad to see the end of a business that has given her so much over the last 17 years.

"We have just loved talking to customers about movies we have seen - it's one of our passions.

"And it's been a great industry to be in," she said.


However, telling her customers last week about the outlet closing was much less fun.

She and husband Neil emigrated from South Africa to Toronto, Canada, 27 years ago but the cold didn't appeal, and the final nail in the coffin for staying in Canada was the impending arrival of twin boys.

"Neil couldn't stand the thought that the boys would end up playing baseball and ice hockey so we came to New Zealand where they could play cricket and rugby.

"The irony is that they didn't end up playing either sport," laughs Mrs Deas. "We also really wanted somewhere warm to live, and New Zealand's weather is very similar to South Africa."

Their love for movies prompted them to journey up to Kerikeri for a look at the United Video business which was for sale.

They arrived just in time to catch the tail end of a cyclone, saw "a massive rainbow" and had a power failure at the motel where they were staying. Perhaps it was the rainbow, but they decided to buy the business.

However, the internet writing has been on the wall for several years - access to movies online has been choking video businesses such as United Video.

"Legal downloads is one thing but illegal downloads is completely another - it's theft and it will eventually have a seriously negative impact on movie makers."

United Video had about two and a half years left on its lease but for the Deas, the signs weren't good for continuing.

"We really noticed in the last school holidays that there was no increase in people getting out videos. There should have been an upswing, but no.

"We could have struggled on but the time had come to leave the business," Mrs Deas said.
The couple are considering their options but they don't include staying in Kerikeri.

Tauranga is on the list for setting up a new business, as is Whangarei.

"But it has to be somewhere warm," Mrs Deas said.

* Charitable trust Community Fitness, located beside the video outlet, has taken over the United Video's lease.

Gym manager Debbie Klinac said the extra space will be used to improve training opportunities.