The owner of Gun City Napier says he knows the opening of his new Ahuriri megastore is unfortunate timing.

Aaron Smith said the past few weeks had been stressful for him personally, but he was pleased to finally be trading.

"What happened in Christchurch was such a terrible thing which has obviously hit the country hard and for us it has just been unfortunate for it to happen during the time we were looking to open.

"But it's a good chance to look at what we do and how to keep people's minds at ease going into the future."


Smith said the store was just like any other outdoor sports and adventure store in Hawke's Bay.

"When you come into the store you can quite clearly see we don't just sell firearms, we have the store set up selling most outdoor sporting and adventure store products with a wide range of hunting, fishing and camping equipment.

"The store isn't intimidating at all, it's not like most hunting stores where there are animal heads on the wall or anything like that."

He quietly opened the doors to the building on Saturday, with no big grand opening, as agreed with Napier City Council, after a petition against the store garnered 600 signatures.

Smith said it was fair to have to make some early adjustments to keep the local community happy, and out of respect for Christchurch shooting victims.

"We understood that some people may have been upset especially after what has happened.

"But we have to protect our brand, a brand which I paid a considerable amount to own, so to find the middle ground that suited all worked out well."

The business comes under the Gun City franchise owned by controversial firearms magnate David Tipple.


Tipple continues to rail against new gun laws and the media, but has had limited involvement in the store, Smith, who owns and manages it, said.

"Being the owner it gave me a lot of leniency around what I wanted to sell and how I wanted to lay out the store and everything.

"I'm a keen fisherman myself so I wanted to stock more of the fishing, camping and clothing range and have fewer firearms on sale compared to other Gun City stores."

He said new gun laws that largely ban semi-automatic ownership in NZ had no effect on him.

"I already made a pre-emptive decision before the laws changed or the attacks happened that I didn't want to stock any of those products because I didn't want them on my store shelves anyway."