A Greytown-born Jack of all Arts will be moving on from Wairarapa, leaving his second-hand bookshop behind to turn a new page in the south Taranaki town of Waverley.

Pat McKenna, a well-seasoned musician and the owner of Pat's Books in Masterton describes himself as somewhat nomadic, born in an era when "people like me who were kind of adventurous tried anything".

Though he has called Wairarapa his home for "at least the past 30 years", Mr McKenna said it doesn't take much for him and Raewyn, his wife of 26 years, to "get itchy feet and take off again".

If I see a dark room, I'll plunge into it because I can't help myself.


The next part of his adventure though will be centred at Waverley, a town which Mr McKenna said "has potential to be like Greytown eventually".


"My wife and I have found a little property in Waverley that we like - it's an old bank," he said.

"It means I can have a book store underneath and live upstairs, which is what I want to do."

Mr McKenna said he saw the listing of his soon-to-be home online six weeks ago, a "stunning" building, next to the town's pub.

He said the town, which homes about 800 people is right by the sea "which is another good thing - and the sea is right on the horizon".

"You wouldn't notice Waverley. You go through it and forget about it, but having stopped and looked around though I thought, ah ok."

Mr McKenna said his Waverley bookshop would be "a bit more eclectic" than the one in Masterton, and would have "a bit more New Zealand stuff in it".

He said he would be well-suited to Waverley, which appealed to him because it reminded him of the Greytown of his childhood.

"Greytown was the best place in the world to grow up because there was no one there," he said.

"Dirt roads, party line, it was a community where everybody looked after everybody. We would just take off in the mornings and come home in the dark as kids. Nobody worried about where we were because somebody always kept an eye on us. We had the whole town and the rivers to wander, and the rivers were fantastic."

A product of the post-war baby boomers, Mr McKenna said he grew up with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones in an era where anything was possible, "which also gave us no direction".

"They asked us what we wanted to do when we left school and I'd say, I have no idea."

Mr McKenna said the first thing he did after leaving school was head to Wellington to get a job.

"At that stage there were more jobs than people so I had no problem."

He became a travelling salesman at 19 and came home with a work car on his first day.

Aside from Pat's Books, next door to the cinemas on Queen St, Mr McKenna has had several other business ventures in Wairarapa including the South End Mart, which he ran for several years.

Entrepreneur Pat McKenna has a fascinating past but his future is still
Entrepreneur Pat McKenna has a fascinating past but his future is still "this big".

"It was quite famous. I had everything there, it was just chocka," he said.

"I had everything from beds to carpets to antiques and I developed an antiques business out of it and moved it to Greytown and opened a shop."

Mr McKenna is also a prominent musician on the Wairarapa scene, kicking his career off as a busker and member of a resident band which played three times a week at Ziggy's, a music venue in Wellington.

"I guess I hit minor success in the industry because I got a mention in the History of New Zealand Rock music but that's all - mainly for bad behaviour," Mr McKenna said.

"That started me in the career of music which got me involved with a lot of people who I still make contact with and I still play with."

Before Mr McKenna departs Wairarapa he will be playing with some of the guys he used to play with "way back then".

The gig is part of the Cross Creek Blues Club on Wednesday, July 6 from 7.15pm at the Tin Hut, Tauherenikau.

"Once you're a musician you get into this sort of fraternity that keeps in touch. Now we're all playing blues."

Mr McKenna said he was still excited to move to Waverley, even though he suspected there would be no music scene to partake in.

"I kind of want a rest but if something happens it happens. I don't have any illusions of becoming someone special.

"I just want to do a few things that are on my mind, pull back a bit.

Mr McKenna said he always took chances and this was just one more to add to a lifetime of fulfilled opportunities.

"I don't have fear. It seems to be a wasted emotion to me," he said.

"The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is fear.

"If I see a dark room, I'll plunge into it because I can't help myself. I won't stand and think what's in there, I'll go in."