Tuesday was Ross Westgate's first day on the job in Taihape.

He took over from the Wong family who had owned and run the popular Four Square grocery store on the corner of Hautapu Street for nearly 45 years.

Mr Westgate said he and his wife Janins Maru, originally from Raetihi, had found out by a sheer "fluke" the Taihape grocery store was on the market.

"It wasn't advertised or anything and really I suppose we heard word of mouth. Lucky us it's exactly what we were hoping to find."


The Westgates had been planning on buying a grocery business out of Auckland for the past two years, he said.

"We love Taihape. With Janine's hometown being Raetihi and me working for a while in Palmerston North a few years ago, we both knew the area well."

Over the past six months they have taken their move step-by-step which has meant they already bought a home in Taihape.

"We're very pleased."

Their two children are at school and kindy and loving it, he said.

"Our children have really settled in here it is a wonderful place to bring up a young family we've been very lucky."

Jeff Wong, a member of the Wong family, has worked for more than 30 years in the shop with his parents and brothers.

He said he definitely would not miss the seven-day a week business.


"Our shop was open every day from 8am and never never closed much before 9pm every night. Then there was always dozens of the things to sort out after closing.

"So by the time you had dinner and tidied the store it was often 2am before you got to bed."

Jeff said he's too young to retire yet so he is working as a relieving teacher at Taihape Area School teaching advanced mathematics and physics.

"I also teach kids after school and work for the Ruapehu Rural activities programme REAP. This is a very very good community for helping each other. I enjoy teaching very much and pleased I can now do more of it."